Leading CEOs launch Global Water Resilience Strategy to span 100 Water-Stressed Basins by 2030
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Leading CEOs launch Global Water Resilience Strategy to span 100 Water-Stressed Basins by 2030

May 24, 2022

The Water Resilience Coalition, an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative that aims to put water stress at the top of corporate agendas and preserve the world’s freshwater resources, today announced its corporate sector-led 2030 strategy to increase global water resilience through collective action. By 2030, the strategy sets to achieve quantifiable positive water impact in 100 water-stressed basins, contributing to water security for 3 billion people. The plan also commits by 2030 to enable equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for more than 300 million people.

The Water Resilience Coalition is part of the CEO Water Mandate, a partnership between the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute. The Coalition includes companies such as Ecolab, Microsoft, Starbucks, GSK, Danone, Gap Inc., and ABInBev, and partners such as WaterAid, water.org, UNICEF.

The Coalition’s 2030 strategy will be achieved through scalable collective action projects, which unite companies, NGOs and the public sector to act locally on water, leveraging member companies’ knowledge and unique capabilities, and developing innovative financing mechanisms. The strategy announced today calls for Coalition companies to rapidly scale collective action on water, initiating collective action in 100 basins by 2025 and fully scaling that work by 2030. Water Resilience Coalition member companies are currently engaged in 12 co-funded collective action water projects in 11 prioritized basins. These projects increase water resilience through investments in nature-based solutions, regenerative agriculture, wastewater recycling, water reuse and other resilient approaches.

As part of the strategy announced today, Water Resilience Coalition companies commit to achieve Net Positive Water Impact (NPWI), by 2050. Launched by the Coalition in 2020 as part of the UN Global Compact SDG Ambition, NPWI is a global framework for quantifying how companies ensure their contributions exceed their impacts on water stress in the same region. Achieving NPWI contributes to reducing water stress measured through water availability, water quality, and water accessibility.

More than 2 billion people currently live in water-stressed regions, more than 2.2 billion lack safe drinking water access and a 56 percent global water deficit is projected by 2030. According to the UN, we must quadruple the speed of action to achieve our global goals for water.

Speaking during the launch event, Sanda Ojiambo Assistant Secretary-General and CEO of the UN Global Compact said:

“Both public and private actors have begun to recognize that solving global water challenges is not a solitary endeavor. This awareness has led to increased interest in undertaking coordinated, collective action. This Global Water Resilience collective action strategy is a crucial first step in ensuring we work together to achieve more sustainable water management.”

“With a growing critical mass of the corporate sector on board, the Water Resilience Coalition is poised to be a game changer for water action against the backdrop of climate change,” said Jason Morrison, President of the Pacific Institute and Head of the CEO Water Mandate.

The Water Resilience Coalition today also announced its goal to increase membership to 150 companies by 2030. The Coalition has nearly quadrupled its corporate membership since being founded by seven companies in 2020.

“Global water use, storage and distribution, including the lack of wastewater treatment, contributes 10% of global greenhouse gases. Industry can no longer ignore the vital link between water and climate,” said Christophe Beck, Chairman and CEO of Ecolab. “Water scarcity represents a potential risk to every business and clean, safe drinking water should be available to everyone on the planet. Prioritizing smart water management, water stewardship, and a commitment to collective action starts within our operations and extends through our extensive customer network. As founders and active members of the Water Resilience Coalition, we will continue to demonstrate that companies can accelerate their growth while prioritizing superior water stewardship and the health of people and the planet.”

Water Resilience Coalition member companies include 3M, ABInBev, Cargill, Diageo, Dow, Ecolab, Gap Inc., Kurita, Microsoft, PVH, Starbucks, Bayer, Braskem, The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate, Cummins, Danone, Dupont, GSK, HEINEKEN, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Levi Strauss & Co., MARS, Reckitt, Phosagro, and Woolworths.

Notes to Editors

About the Water Resilience Coalition

The Water Resilience Coalition is an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative of the United Nations Global Compact CEO Water Mandate that aims to elevate the long-term mounting crisis of global water stress to the top of the corporate agenda and to preserve the world’s freshwater resources through collective action in water-stressed basins and ambitious, quantifiable commitments. For more information visit our website at www.ceowatermandate.org/resilience.

About the United Nations Global Compact

As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 13,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 69 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world. For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website at unglobalcompact.org.

About the CEO Water Mandate

The CEO Water Mandate is a partnership between the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute that mobilizes business leaders on water, sanitation, and the Sustainable Development Goals for corporate water stewardship. Mandate endorsers commit to continuous progress against six core elements (direct operations, supply chain and watershed management, collective action, public policy, community engagement and transparency) and in so doing understand and manage their own water risks. Established in 2007 and implemented in partnership with the Pacific Institute, the Mandate was created out of the acknowledgement that global water challenges create risk for a wide range of industry sectors, the public sector, local communities and ecosystems alike. For more information, follow @H2O_stewards on Twitter or visit ceowatermandate.org.

About the Pacific Institute

Founded in 1987, the Pacific Institute is a global water think tank that combines science-based thought leadership with active outreach to influence local, national, and international efforts in developing sustainable water policies. From working with Fortune 500 companies to disenfranchised communities, our mission is to create and advance solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges. Since 2009, the Pacific Institute has also acted as co-secretariat for the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, a global commitment platform that mobilizes a critical mass of business leaders to address global water challenges through corporate water stewardship. For more information, follow @PacificInstitut on Twitter and visit our website at www.pacinst.org.

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