The CEO Water Mandate is a commitment platform for business leaders and learners to advance water stewardship. Endorsing companies commit to action across six key elements and report annually on progress. In doing so, they:

  1. cut costs
  2. build brand value and reputation
  3. identify and manage business risks
  4. advance water security for their business, ecosystems, and communities alike

BENEFITS

  1. Demonstrate your commitment to internal and external stakeholders
  2. Keep abreast of water stewardship engagement opportunities
  3. Attend Mandate events and webinars

Eligibility

The CEO Water Mandate welcomes companies with at least 10 employees and from all sectors, from all parts of the world, and at all stages of the water stewardship journey.

Requirements

  1. Become UN Global Compact signatories
  2. Agree to the Mandate’s six core commitment areas
  3. Report annually on progress

Endorsing Companies

See the full list of our 150+ endorsing companies

Endorsing Companies

See the full list of our 150+ endorsing companies

The Six Commitment Areas

Virtually all business organizations, whether small or large, utilize water in the production of their goods and services. The extent of this use varies across industrial and economic sectors. For instance, water-infrastructure companies play a direct role in working with governments and municipalities to manage water and wastewater systems. In other cases, water is a primary ingredient in an organization’s final product. Water is also crucial in the manufacturing or development process of many companies. In still others, water is a primary resource in the supply chain.

In areas of water stress, rapid industrialization and economic development place significant demands on water resources.

Therefore, we pledge to undertake the following actions, where appropriate, over time:

  • Conduct a comprehensive water-use assessment to understand the extent to which the company uses water in the direct production of goods and services.
  • Set targets for our operations related to water conservation and waste-water treatment, framed in a corporate cleaner production and consumption strategy.
  • Seek to invest in and use new technologies to achieve these goals.
  • Raise awareness of water sustainability within corporate culture.
  • Include water sustainability considerations in business decisionmaking – e.g., facility-siting, due diligence, and production processes.

In recent years more and more business organizations have focused on issues and activities along their supply chains – recognizing that many impacts are beyond their direct control. With respect to water, this understanding is quite new, with many companies just beginning to examine the degree to which their suppliers utilize water in their operations.

The role of agriculture is particularly important as it accounts for 70 percent of all fresh water withdrawn, and must play a primary role in helping to address improved water management.

At the same time, companies operating in communities and areas of water stress increasingly see that as local stakeholders they have an interest and can play a role in helping to protect and manage the area watershed – understanding and recognizing the leading role that governments and local authorities must play.

Therefore, we pledge to undertake the following actions, where appropriate, over time:

  • Encourage suppliers to improve their water conservation, quality monitoring, waste-water treatment, and recycling practices.
  • Build capacities to analyze and respond to watershed risk.
  • Encourage and facilitate suppliers in conducting assessments of water usage and impacts.
  • Share water sustainability practices – established and emerging – with suppliers.
  • Encourage major suppliers to report regularly on progress achieved related to goals.

While individual organizational efforts will be critical in helping to address the water challenge, collective efforts – across sectors and societal spheres – will also be required. Such multi-stakeholder collaboration can draw on significant expertise, capacities and resources. Utilizing frameworks such as the UN Global Compact, companies can participate in collective efforts to address water sustainability.

Therefore, we pledge to undertake the following actions, where appropriate, over time:

  • Build closer ties with civil society organizations, especially at the regional and local levels.
  • Work with national, regional and local governments and public authorities to address water sustainability issues and policies, as well as with relevant international institutions – e.g., the UNEP Global Programme of Action.
  • Encourage development and use of new technologies, including efficient irrigation methods, new plant varieties, drought resistance, water efficiency and salt tolerance.
  • Be actively involved in the UN Global Compact’s Country Networks.
  • Support the work of existing water initiatives involving the private sector – e.g., the Global Water Challenge; UNICEF’s Water, Environment and Sanitation Program; IFRC Water and Sanitation Program; the World Economic Forum Water Initiative – and collaborate with other relevant UN bodies and intergovernmental organizations – e.g., the World Health Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Bank Group.

Actions such as those proposed in this Mandate will only be sustainable and efficient if embedded in effective global, regional and local water governance structures with the right incentives for water efficiency and allocation. As a consequence, the topic of water sustainability is increasingly rising to the top of the international policy agenda as governments, multilateral organizations and other stakeholders, including civil society, debate the challenge.

Some of these discussions relate to government policy and regulation; others focus on the interplay of regulatory and voluntary efforts; while still others involve efforts to create the proper environment and enabling spaces for partnerships and collective efforts to flourish. Basic issues of water governance and the market value of water remain to be resolved and are fundamental to making progress in water management.

Therefore, we pledge to undertake the following actions, where appropriate, over time:

  • Contribute inputs and recommendations in the formulation of government regulation and in the creation of market mechanisms in ways that drive the water sustainability agenda.
  • Exercise “business statesmanship” by being advocates for water sustainability in global and local policy discussions, clearly presenting the role and responsibility of the private sector in supporting integrated water resource management.
  • Partner with governments, businesses, civil society and other stakeholders – for example specialized institutes such as the Stockholm International Water Institute, UNEP Collaborating Centre on Water and Environment, and UNESCO’s Institute for Water Education – to advance the body of knowledge, intelligence and tools.
  • Join and/or support special policy-oriented bodies and associated frameworks – e.g., UNEP’s Water Policy and Strategy; UNDP’s Water Governance Programme.

Companies operate not in a vacuum but in a broader societal context. Indeed, it is increasingly recognized that businesses are part of the social fabric of the communities in which they operate – and as corporate citizens share in the responsibility of the sustainability and wellbeing of these communities. More and more companies – both multinationals operating abroad and local enterprise – see that supporting or actively engaging with communities and grass-roots organizations and initiatives is in their enlightened self-interest.

Therefore, we pledge to undertake the following actions, where appropriate, over time:

  • Endeavor to understand the water and sanitation challenges in the communities where we operate and how our businesses impact those challenges.
  • Be active members of the local community, and encourage or provide support to local government, groups and initiatives seeking to advance the water and sanitation agendas.
  • Undertake water-resource education and awareness campaigns in partnership with local stakeholders.
  • Work with public authorities and their agents to support – when appropriate – the development of adequate water infrastructure, including water and sanitation delivery systems.

Transparency goes to the heart of accountability. Leading companies recognize that transparency and disclosure are crucial in terms of meeting the expectations of a wide group of stakeholders. Such efforts help companies focus on continuous improvement and turning principles into results – a process which is crucial in terms of realizing gains and building trust.

Therefore, we pledge to undertake the following actions, where appropriate, over time:

  • Include a description of actions and investments undertaken in relation to The CEO Water Mandate in our annual Communications on Progress for the UN Global Compact, making reference to relevant performance indicators such as the water indicators found in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines.
  • Publish and share our water strategies (including targets and results as well as areas for improvement) in relevant corporate reports, using – where appropriate – the water indicators found in the GRI Guidelines.
  • Be transparent in dealings and conversations with governments and other public authorities on water issues.

Interested, but not ready to endorse?

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for the annual Communication on Progress reports?

Mandate endorsing companies have quite a bit of flexibility in how they report progress. The only requirements is that they speak toward their progress against all six commitment areas: 1) Direct Operations, 2) Supply Chain & Watershed Management, 3) Collective Action, 4) Public Policy, 5) Community Engagement, and 6) Transparency. Companies are encouraged to use the Mandate’s Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines as a guiding framework for their reporting. Companies are also welcome to submit their CDP Water Questionnaire to fully meet their reporting requirement for the Mandate.

 

What if my company is not currently a signatory of the UN Global Compact?

New endorsing companies are given a one-year grace period to become signatories of the UN Global Compact. After that, they will be removed as Mandate endorsers. To learn more about becoming a UN Global Compact signatory, go to: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/participation