Today, billions of people still live without safe water and sanitation – in their homes, schools, and workplaces. One billion people live without safe water at home. Almost one fifth of schools worldwide have no drinking water service, with children using unprotected sources or going thirsty. Every year, 361,000 children under the age of five die from diarrhea, which can often be prevented by safe drinking water access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). These are just a few of the many striking facts about our current failure to ensure the human rights to water and sanitation for all.
And yet, despite the urgent importance of this topic, until recently WASH has perhaps been under-appreciated by the corporate water stewardship community. The CEO Water Mandate itself and many other stewardship initiatives have only fully acknowledged and incorporated action on WASH as an integral component of stewardship in the last few years. As we’ve done so, it has become clear that not only can business be a powerful force in ensuring WASH services for their own workers and the communities in which they operate, but there are substantial and unmistakable business benefits to doing so as well. I believe we as a community have a great opportunity to leverage our considerable influence and resources on this issue.
In this vein, the Mandate Secretariat and I are delighted to invite and encourage any and all interested Mandate endorsing companies to use the power and reach of your communication channels to help bolster UN-Water’s upcoming Leaving No One Behind campaign this World Water Day (March 22). We believe Mandate endorsers can play a vital role in raising awareness on this important topic, and in doing so further demonstrate your commitment to stewardship to customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
Please consider joining the Mandate in helping promote this critically important campaign. We at the Mandate Secretariat would be delighted to discuss how we can support you in this endeavor. To further explore how your company might participate, please email my colleague Peter Schulte (firstname.lastname@example.org).