Despite increasing awareness of how water scarcity can hurt the bottom line, companies are not moving quickly enough to address water risks.
This year’s report gives well-deserved accolades to the companies demonstrating excellence in water stewardship, but also implores others to take swifter, bolder actions towards ensuring a water-secure economy and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6.
Climate change, and the water impacts that stem from it, poses an existential threat to our economy and our society. The pace at which we mitigate and adapt to climate change must accelerate, and business action is a key component of achieving this acceleration.
Traditional water resources management strategies have focused mainly on building additional infrastructure and retrofitting existing ones. The emergence of innovative technologies and services will be game-changers for addressing water scarcity challenges and will be a cost-effective way to manage water resources in the future.
In implementing water stewardship, companies can build more resilient operations and suppliers, protect their license to operate, save money, promote workplace productivity, strengthen brand value, and more.
WRI and MIT have developed a proven method to crowdsource local data through businesses to develop a unique water management geodatabase, which is now being scaled. Pinpointing areas with strong or weak water management will allow governments, utilities, businesses and investors to more precisely channel resources to places with the most need.
First convened in November 2017, the Task Force has seen some of its earliest benefit in linking together business representatives and government officials based on an urgent need and a common vision. It is this deepening relationship that will get the Western Cape through the worst drought in at least 300 years.
I have found that businesses tend to focus water stewardship efforts within their owned-and-operated facilities, because this is where they have the most influence and ability to affect changes in practice. However, the greatest water risks – and the greatest opportunities for improved management – often lie in companies’ supply chains.
Water crises have been among the top five global risks in each of the last seven years, according to the World Economic Forum. This year is no exception.
Revolve Water, in association with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), recently published their “Water Around the Mediterranean” 2017 report. Dedicated to communicating the value of water, Revolve Water’s organizational mission is to identify, encourage and implement innovative solutions for citizens, companies, and cities to become more sustainable in their water and energy usage.