Frequently Asked Questions

  1. The CEO Water Mandate is a unique public-private initiative that mobilizes business leaders for water stewardship. Established by the UN Global Compact in 2007, the Mandate was created out of the acknowledgement that global water challenges create risk for a wide range of industry sectors, the public sector, local communities, and ecosystems alike. The CEO Water Mandate is rooted in the belief that cross-sectoral collaboration on shared water goals is the most effective path to more sustainable water management and that the private sector can be a critical partner in this effort.
  2. The Mandate is governed by the Steering Committee, charged with strategic, administrative, and financial arrangements. The Steering Committee is composed of ten corporate representatives, representing different geographies and serving staggered two-year terms, and one representative of the UN Global Compact Office. It is supported by Special Advisors to the Steering Committee, representing different stakeholder interests and spheres, including the public, civil society, and other sectors.

    The Secretariat seeks to make decisions based on a consensus model. When consensus cannot be reached, a simple majority vote decides matters. In practice, many of the initiative’s decisions are taken at endorser meetings at conferences. The Mandate is also guided by working groups associated with each of the initiative’s focus areas, which provide an opportunity for endorsing companies and key stakeholders to shape the direction of projects and focus areas.

  3. The Mandate welcomes both water stewardship leaders and learners. As endorsers of the Mandate, Chief Executive Officers commit their companies to implementing the six elements of the Mandate – Direct Operations, Supply Chain and Watershed Management, Collective Action, Public Policy, Community Engagement, Transparency – through individual and collective efforts. As part of this commitment, companies disclose annually by means of a Communication on Progress – Water report that describes the ways in which they are implementing the Mandate elements. To endorse the Mandate, companies must also be current signatories of the UN Global Compact. That’s it!
  4. No. The CEO Water Mandate is a leadership platform, a call to action, and an aspirational pledge to pursue the initiative’s six core elements. The initiative is endorsed by a wide range of companies — some with advanced water policies and practices, some just beginning their journey toward being water stewards. Ultimately, the Mandate is designed as a platform for companies to share practices and policies, discuss complex issues, identify practical solutions, and collaborate with stakeholders to advance more sustainable water management.
  5. Yes. The UN Global Compact has and will continue to de-list endorsing companies if they fail to fulfill their UN Global Compact obligations or meet the Mandate’s annual Communication on Progress — Water reporting requirements. With respect to accountability, the CEO Water Mandate is governed by the UN Global Compact’s Integrity Measures.
  6. Companies endorsing the CEO Water Mandate must be (or become within six months) members of the UN Global Compact. The Mandate seeks to build an international movement of committed companies, both leaders and learners. In this spirit, the initiative is open to companies of all sizes and sectors, from all parts of the world, and at any stage in their water stewardship journey.
  7. A company wishing to join the initiative should indicate their endorsement of the CEO Water Mandate and its six elements by submitting a letter, signed by the Chief Executive Officer, to Companies that are not already participating in the UN Global Compact have a six-month grace period subsequent to their endorsement of the Mandate to become UNGC signatories.

    A template sign-on letter can be found here.

  8. The CEO Water Mandate pursues a multi-stakeholder approach to water stewardship. It highly values input from stakeholders from all sectors of society. Stakeholders support the Mandate by participating in its conferences and providing feedback on projects as they evolve. Non-business organizations cannot endorse the Mandate.
  9. The CEO Water Mandate holds periodic events that convene endorsing companies and stakeholders from the public sector, civil society, academia, and other sectors to discuss critical water challenges and identify practical solutions. The goal of the conferences is to foster innovative thinking and solutions to complex water challenges. As such, an effort has been made to keep the gatherings at a size that allows for a manageable facilitated group discussion (i.e., less than 100 people). To date, invitations to working conferences have been limited to Mandate-endorsing companies and the roughly 300–400 key stakeholders that are currently in the Mandate’s contacts database.

    The Mandate typically holds one major working conference annually, coinciding with Stockholm World Water Week in late-August or early-September, as well as additional, smaller workshops in river basins around the world.