Global Business Leaders Unite for Water Resilience
CEOs of seven global corporations to lead the Water Resilience Coalition, pledging a commitment to collective action and net positive water impact by 2050
The CEO Water Mandate, an initiative of the United Nations Global Compact, has partnered with a number of leading global companies to launch an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative, the Water Resilience Coalition. The Coalition aims to preserve the world’s freshwater resources through collective action in water-stressed basins and ambitious, quantifiable commitments. Together with the CEO Water Mandate, seven companies spearheaded the Coalition, including AB InBev, Diageo, Dow Inc., Ecolab, Gap Inc., Microsoft and PVH Corp. These co-founding companies – who will serve as Coalition leaders – as well as Coalition members, The Coca-Cola Company, HEINEKEN, Levi Strauss & Co., and Woolworths – have pledged their commitment to collective action and net positive impact, and issued a call to action for other companies to join with them.
As the world grapples with the mounting and substantial global risks, including impacts of climate change, one of the most visible consequences is stress on our shared freshwater resources. Today, more than 25 per cent of the world’s population live in water-stressed regions and over the next decade, the world will experience a 56 per cent shortfall in freshwater supply, based on projected demand. This looming shortage threatens not only our ecosystems, but our communities, our businesses and the global economy.
“2020 marks the beginning of a Decade of Action – one where business ambition grounded in real, measurable commitments is needed to support the future of our planet. This new Coalition does just that by calling on business leaders to commit to action and collectively work together to address the challenges in front of us.” – Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact
Given its dependence on freshwater resources, the private sector has a vested interest in ensuring that these resources are sustainable, resilient, and ample enough to serve both the needs of society and industry. The Water Resilience Coalition will ground its work in building the resilience of water-stressed basins around the world – prioritizing those that pose the greatest risk to local communities and economies, industry and long-term economic prosperity. Through collaboration, investment in infrastructure, innovation and policy advocacy, and by engaging supply chain partners and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the effort, businesses can help lead the way on water basin resilience.
Companies that join the Water Resilience Coalition will sign a pledge to make the needed investments in their own operations, as well as work together through collective action, to accomplish three overarching commitments by 2050:
- Net Positive Water Impact: Deliver measurable net positive impact in water-stressed basins, focusing on the availability, quality and accessibility of freshwater resources. Net positive water impact is defined as contributing more to basin health than what is taken from it.
- Water Resilient Value Chain: Develop, implement, and enable strategies to support leading impact-based water resilience practices across the global value chain.
- Global Leadership: Raise the ambition of water resilience through public and corporate outreach, as well as inspire other industry leaders to join the Coalition.
The launch of the Coalition comes on the heels of World Water Day and the 2020 World Water Development Report, recently published by UN Water, which further underscores the unified front needed to make significant strides to achieve global climate and water goals. Furthermore, the report stresses the link between poor water management and exacerbated impacts of climate change.
The Water Resilience Coalition is committed to achieving a water resilient future in partnership with a host of organizations, including World Resources Institute, Water.org and The Nature Conservancy, among others.
Hear more from our co-founders, members, and supporters
“As a global brewer with operations around the world water is essential not only for our business, but also for the economic, social and environmental well-being of our communities. Our ultimate goal is to measurably improve watersheds in areas where we operate by driving best in class efficiency, investing in new innovations and working with others. We are proud of our progress, but we know that the scale of the global water challenge is bigger than any individual organization. It is essential to collaborate with peers across industries so we can all make progress faster to ensure water availability and quality for our communities. The Water Resilience Coalition provides a unique opportunity to partner with other leading companies on this journey and achieve impact at scale.” – Carlos Brito, CEO, Anheuser-Busch InBev
“Water is one of the most pressing climate and community issues of our time and we all need to act now to make a positive difference; we cannot afford to wait. Those of us in the private sector have an incredibly important part to play and we need to collaborate more to share knowledge, best practice and solutions – as well as drive significant action across our own supply chains. The Water Resilience Coalition provides a unique platform for everyone to come together so that we can deliver measurable changes to people’s lives across the world.” – Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive Officer, Diageo
“As the climate crisis intensifies, the impacts on our shared freshwater resources are far reaching. Businesses like Dow depend on having abundant freshwater to ensure the continued safe operation of our manufacturing facilities worldwide. We have both the responsibility and opportunity to collaborate with other sectors of society on solutions, combining our resources and efforts to ensure there are sustainable and resilient freshwater resources for all.” – Jim Fitterling, CEO, Dow Inc.
“The world is facing unprecedented challenges – including the growing frequency of water crises. It is absolutely urgent that companies get involved in preserving the world’s water resources for future generations,” said Ecolab Chairman and CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. and co-founder of the Water Resilience Coalition. “The Water Resilience Coalition’s commitments will drive real impact in our own operations and supply chains, and bring together businesses, governments and communities to solve this global challenge.” – Douglas M. Baker, Jr., Ecolab Chairman and CEO, Ecolab
“What makes the Water Resilience Coalition unique is the collaboration of companies across industries of various sizes, working together to achieve greater impact. Water is critical for our business operations, and we have a responsibility to ensure people who live in water-stressed regions have access to safe, clean water. Working together, we can be a powerful force for good. We invite companies to join us and take action now.” -Sonia Syngal, Chief Executive Officer, Gap Inc.
“We are proud to be a founding member of the Water Resilience Coalition. This initiative raises the bar of ambition and leadership for water stewardship, and is designed to inspire others to join us in this crucial work to improve water resources for the people and communities that need it the most. PVH has made strong progress in this area through our Forward Fashion corporate responsibility strategy, and we hope that this initiative will elevate the global commitment to this finite resource as we collectively address the climate crisis and work to create a better tomorrow.” – Emanuel Chirico, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, PVH Corp.
“The Coca-Cola Company is pleased to join the CEO Water Mandate Resilience Pledge. We recognize that the permanent availability of safe water resources is essential to human well-being and ecosystem health, as well as future economic growth. We must all increase the level of our ambition to create water security by investing jointly in the critical watersheds where we operate and source and by supporting institutions for multi-stakeholder collaboration.” – James Quincy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company
“We all need to pay more attention to water. It is a precious, but undervalued, resource. HEINEKEN is committed to water protection. We hope that companies from all sectors will join the Water Resilience Coalition and sign the pledge. It’s important to increase water security so that people, nature, and economies can continue to thrive.” – Jean-François van Boxmeer, Chairman Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer, HEINEKEN
“The time for collaboration is now. It won’t be easy, but an essential first step is just understanding that no organization can do it alone. Successfully addressing the water crisis and climate change will require all companies, including large corporations, to realign their business models, products and practices in ways that decouple production and consumption from the depletion of water resources.” – Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water & President, International Fund for Agricultural Development.
“Water.org is honored to be a founding Coalition partner. We applaud the founding companies for their ambitious commitments to reduce water stress, the Coalition for bringing together both industry and civil society, and the Coalition members for prioritizing the humanity of water in their actions – ensuring the needs of those living without access to safe water and sanitation are met. The water crises can only be solved with our collective commitment and expertise. Access to water connects every aspect of life, turning problems into potential –contributing to improved health for families around the world, empowering people with time for school and work, and helping to build robust economies.“ – Jennifer Tisdel Schorsch, President, Water.org