Potential Benefits

 

 

Key Benefits of Effective Collective Action

  • Clear articulation of problems (a more robust understanding and connection to water management challenges and realities), shared ownership of solutions, and clarity of joint purpose
  • More informed decision making by the business initiator and other parties to the engagement
  • Broader scope and depth of motivation and momentum in support of water-related improvements
  • An expanded pool of expertise, capacity, or financial resources focused on fostering change
  • More durable outcomes with strong support from the engaged parties
  • Establishment and maintenance of credibility and legitimacy with key interested parties, resulting in improved legal and social license to operate
  • Stronger, more sustainable water governance by engaging multiple stakeholders, including water users

 

Collective action has become a core component of the water stewardship practices of a growing number of companies. The willingness to enter into joint relationships with external parties reflects a reality: that addressing many water-related risks or capturing water stewardship opportunities depends on the support of other parties. In many cases, collective action will be the only way to genuinely overcome complex water challenges with interrelated social, environmental, and economic dimensions.

The case for collective action, however, runs substantially deeper than mere dependence on other parties. As listed in the box at right, effective collective action provides an array of substantial benefits to businesses, as well as to other parties to the engagement.

These benefits emerge directly from a “shared risk, shared responsibility, and shared benefit” framework whereby problems that pose a risk to businesses, society, governments, and ecosystems can best be addressed through joint efforts that generate common understanding, strategies, and solutions. All collective action engagements, when executed effectively, establish enduring, productive relationships among a range of possible interested parties who are affected by a company’s direct or supply chain operations, or who are dependent on the same water system as the company. The potential benefits of managing water-related risks or capturing water stewardship opportunities through acting with others must, however, be balanced by the potential challenges and complexities of sharing information, consulting others, making joint decisions or commitments, and sharing responsibility for implementation. It is within this context that the systematic collective action strategy and the development of a well-informed approach become critically important.

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