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The Business Case for Investing in WASH (2017)

This paper presents the case for the business value creation and economic benefits associated with positive actions on WASH as well as outlining how business can contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 6.

Primary Functions

  • Understand the impact of business on WASH
  • Learn why businesses should invest in WASH

Detailed Description

Sustainable Development Goal 6 seeks universal access to water and sanitation by 2030. The 2017 WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme Report states; “Universal implies all settings, not only to households, but also schools, health care facilities, workplaces and other public spaces”.
The private sector has a critical role to play in contributing to this compelling vision through their ability to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as part of their core business operations. This paper provides working examples on how to make progress in service delivery in and beyond the workplace. Through this process, business can simultaneously also reap the benefits of cost savings, business growth and opportunities for collaboration.

Contributing to Sustainable Development Goals is relevant to your consumers and wider society

  • 844 million people are still without basic drinking water, and 2.1 billion without safely managed water at home.
  • 2.3 billion people lack access to basic sanitation, and 5.3 billion without safely managed sanitation at home.
  • Menstrual hygiene has been largely neglected, resulting in millions of women and girls being denied services.
  • For every US $1 invested in water and sanitation, US $4.30 is generated in economic returns through increased productivity.

The impact of business on WASH can be understood as:


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  • Delivery of services directly to employees;
  • Influencing stakeholders to provide access to WASH for workers in supply chains and communities;
  • Managing water consumption and discharge of water as a cornerstone of water stewardship through on-site and catchment based action.

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