Align water stewardship practices with broader sustainable development efforts
Water stewardship also supports broader social and environmental goals, notably the realization of human rights and the anticipated Sustainable Development Goals. By implementing water stewardship, you inherently advance these broader objectives. However, there are also some critical considerations to keep in mind to ensure that stewardship practice aligns with efforts to advance these broader goals.
Respect and support human rights
- Implement processes to understand impacts on human rights to water and sanitation
- Implement actions to address identified human rights impacts
- Support realization of human rights to water and sanitation for all
- Maintain license to operate
- Build brand value and strengthen reputation
- Contribute to realization of Sustainable Development Goals
Proactively respecting human rights ensures that your company identifies, manages, and prevents adverse impacts to human rights. In doing so, you abide by the law, strengthen your license to operate, and build your reputation and brand value.
Tackling the social dimensions of water stewardship will require that you confront water-related human rights, particularly making sure you effectively meet your responsibility to respect the human rights to water and sanitation. As per the UN Guiding Principles, businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights by to proactively identifying and managing their negative human rights impacts, including those they are linked to through their business relationships. No matter where you are in the water stewardship progression, you can make meaningful progress toward respecting the human rights to water and sanitation. At the same time, fully respecting the human rights to water and sanitation inherently requires action across the entire Water Stewardship Progression.
Once you have implemented systems and procedures to ensure you proactively respect human rights, you can also choose to actively support human rights by facilitating community WASH projects and other activities. Though this can be an incredibly helpful and valuable endeavor, it also brings with it many risks and challenges. Supporting human rights requires nuanced, balanced, and sophisticated action that puts the needs and interests of rights holders above business needs.
The CEO Water Mandate’s Guidance for Companies on Respecting the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation offers a comprehensive approach for incorporating human rights considerations into your water stewardship practice.
Contributing to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals
Water is also a critical component of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In fact, water and sanitation are expected to form a dedicated goal in the upcoming SDGs because of their great importance and the degree to which they inform and support the realization of many other critical development goals.
As with human rights, water stewardship and the SDGs are mutually-compatible frameworks with a high degree of overlap. Water stewardship practices inherently advance many of the SDGs, whether they be improving water governance, addressing water pollution, or securing consistent access to WASH services. Also like human rights, robustly contributing to water-related SDGs requires action across the Water Stewardship Progression, from operational practices to collective action to supplier engagement.
The SDGs offer a particularly compelling framework for action as they allow coordination and communication across water and other important issue areas like poverty alleviation, climate mitigation and adaptation, renewable energy, and other topics. The SDGs also offer a helpful, commonly-understood framework for companies to measure progress and demonstrate meaningful contributions toward the achievement of global goals for socially and environmentally sustainable development.
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- Sets out clear actions that CEOs can take to begin to align their organizations with the SDGs
Developed by: World Business Council for Sustainable Development
- Provides an overview of challenges and approaches that companies take to scaling action on WASH in their supply chains
- Lays out potential next steps for facilitating further corporate action
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, and WaterAid
- Learn how your company can engage in support of universal access to and use of WASH
- Identify actionable to encourage catalytic forms of engagement between private sector organisations and institutions working on WASH
Developed by: Overseas Development Institute
Pathways to Achieving Sustainable Development Goals Related to Water and Sanitation: An Experience from India (2015)
- Learn about collaborative efforts to advance water stewardship and achieve Sustainable Development Goal #6 from Hindustan Unilever Foundation’s portfolio of projects in India
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, Hindustan Unilever Foundation
- Understand how your business can contribute to SDG Goal #6
- Identify risks associated with SDG engagements
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, WWF, WaterAid
- Learn how you can align your strategies as well as measure and manage your contribution to the realization of the SDGs.
Developed by: UN Global Compact, Global Reporting Initiative, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
- Understand how your company may have negative impacts on human rights to water and sanitation (HRWS)
- Incorporate your responsibility to respect the HRWS into existing water stewardship practices
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, Shift
Post-2015 Agenda and Related Sustainable Development Goals Issue Focus: Water & Sanitation and the Role of Business (2014)
- Gain insight into the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the role of business in advancing core policy goals related to water and sanitation
Developed by: UN Global Compact
- Understand international and legal trends related to the human rights to water and sanitation
- Identify potential synergies between respecting human rights and existing water stewardship efforts
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, Shift
- Understanding early underpinnings of the Mandate’s guidance on respecting the human rights to water and sanitation
Developed by: CEO Water Mandate, Institute for Human Rights and Business
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