The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) has developed two tools to advance companies’ understanding of water issues, one at the corporate level, and another at the facility level. GEMI is currently developing a third water sustainability tool, the Local Water Tool, that will be available in Spring 2012.

Released in 2002, the GEMI’s Connecting the Drops Towards Creative Water Strategies: A Water Sustainability Tool is an online tool that helps organizations create a water strategy. It enables companies to assess their relationship to water, identifies associated risks and describes the business case for action, and helps address companies’ specific needs and circumstances. Connecting the Drops introduces a number of questions on these topics to facilitate companies’ understanding of various water sustainability issues. These questions act as the basis for guidance on goal setting and the development of strategic plans.

GEMI’s Collecting the Drops: A Water Sustainability Planner, an online tool released in 2007, focuses on the needs of a facility-level user rather than the company as a whole. It guides a user through the process of taking a corporate sustainability strategy and converting it into a site or unit strategy for water. Collecting the Drops uses input from the facility to give a broad assessment of risks regarding the local watershed, supply reliability, efficiency, compliance with regulations, supply economics, and social context.

Both of these GEMI water tools provide qualitative guidance on risks and identification of some of the most pressing issues, rather than quantitative data.

These two GEMI tools are best oriented to companies and facilities that are just beginning to understand how water issues affect nearby ecosystems and communities, as well as their own business risks. They can be used to get a broad assessment of some pertinent questions, but provide no quantitative information to compare different water uses, products, or facilities. As such, they are perhaps less useful for companies that are seeking a comprehensive assessment of different water uses and impacts in order to assess hotspots, drive product development, or identify specific long-term water strategies.

Application

GEMI Water Sustainability Tools

Primary Functions
  • Help build knowledge of water-related challenges at the corporate- and facility-level, especially for companies just beginning to think about water stewardship
  • Enable companies to create basic water management plans at the corporate- and facility-levels
Assessing Water-Related Business Risks
Understanding and Responding to Water Use and Quality Impacts
  • Provides a compilation of information that can help better understand and identify impacts, but does not quantify them
  • Provides questions that help companies understand their effects on quality of water bodies
Conveying Water Information to Stakeholders
  • Connecting the Drops and Collecting the Drops are not intended for use as a communication tool, nor are they commonly used as one