About the CEO Water Mandate
The CEO Water Mandate is a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General and the UN Global Compact, providing a multi-stakeholder platform for the development, implementation, and disclosure of corporate water sustainability policies and practices. The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with over 7000 corporate participants and other stakeholders from more than 140 countries. The UN Global Compact is based on ten principles in the areas of human rights, labor standards, the environment, and anti-corruption.
Shift is a nonprofit, mission driven organization, and that makes a critical difference. Our sole purpose is to help shape a world in which businesses have the knowledge skills, and incentives to respect human rights. We love diving into tough challenges and asking ourselves the hard, seemingly unsolvable questions. That is how we have constantly pioneered in the world of business and human rights, being frank and forthright about what needs to change, and demonstrating how practices can rise to meet ambitions.
About the Guide
This Guidance was developed by the CEO Water Mandate and Shift, a leading center of practice on implementation of the UN Guiding Principles, with support from Oxfam America. It involved extensive research and consultation with a wide range of interested stakeholders.
The main audiences for this Guidance are staff with responsibility for human rights and those with responsibility for water stewardship within companies. Both large and small companies should find the Guidance useful, but it should be particularly relevant for those with heavy water use in their operations.
In addition, the Guidance should be of use to other stakeholders, including representatives of states, civil society organizations working on water and sanitation or on broader human rights issues, investors, international organizations, and others who have an interest in supporting, incentivizing, or requiring companies to meet their responsibility to respect the HRWS.
The development of this guidance proceeded in two phases and involved extensive research and multi-stakeholder consultations. Over the course of the process, the project team undertook desk-based research, held over 50 multi-stakeholder interviews, convened roundtable discussions in Lima and Stockholm, and held a web-based public consultation period. Interviews were held with over 20 companies representing 8 sectors (food and beverage, extractives, ICT, agriculture, apparel, automotive, chemicals, and consumer products), as well as representatives from international and national NGOs, socially responsible and faith-based investors, civil society organizations, and affected communities in developing regions.
The project team also regularly consulted with the CEO Water Mandate’s Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) — comprised of representatives from many Mandate-endorsing companies — as well as with a group of technical experts, representing civil society, academia, and UN agencies with expertise on the issue of business and the rights to water and sanitation.