Over the last few years, companies investing in water stewardship have made considerable progress on water-related operational efficiencies (including pollution reduction) across the value chain. Those companies are now starting to look beyond individual facility initiatives and focus their water stewardship strategies to more holistically address risks in the river basins where their value chains operate. These river basin projects help address the root causes of water risks that threaten businesses, communities, and ecosystems alike. Basin-level projects are uniquely positioned to enable collective action on water stewardship, in which stakeholders work together to address local water conditions and advance sustainable water management that secures water for all users. Through collective action, companies can leverage funding and knowledge sharing, gain community buy-in, and scale positive impacts on shared basin water challenges.
While largely acknowledged as a key to solving the world’s water challenges, collective action is at the frontier of water stewardship. Thus, when several CEO Water Mandate-endorsing apparel brands expressed interest in working collectively on water stewardship, the Mandate saw a great opportunity to foster impactful work addressing basin water security. Together, these companies and the Mandate will partner to advance private sector leadership in water stewardship.
The Mandate is working with Gap Inc., Levi Strauss & Co, and PVH Corp., among other companies, to establish a location-based collective action project around water stewardship in a river basin where the companies operate and source from while facing increasing business water risk. The initiative has begun its 2018 activities in a subset of the Cauvery River Basin in India, the Noyyal and Bhavani sub-basins, where it will pilot test the context-based water targets methodology. The initiative will determine key water challenges for the selected sub-basins, support facilities in setting water targets that contribute to basin water sustainability, and work with others to identify a vision for region’s water-secure future. As work progresses, the scope of the project will evolve based on findings from the context-based water targets process.
The initiative is centered on engaging with regional and local stakeholders, including other industry sectors, government officials, academics, NGOs, and development agencies. Collaborating with other organizations will allow the initiative to build on existing work and develop implementation projects to address WASH access, water quality, groundwater management, or other key water challenges in the basin.
If you are a company or other stakeholder interested in joining this work in Southern India, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.