A Holistic Approach to Water Stewardship
The demand and competition for diminishing water resources has resulted in unprecedented attention on water. Communities across the globe are increasingly challenged with providing sustainable and reliable water supplies to households, agriculture, and industry.
Recognizing water as a rising global challenge and the linkages to business, many companies have significantly advanced their water strategies over the past few years. Much of this work has been placed upon defining more holistic approaches to water stewardship. One such company is Cummins. Since 2011, the global power systems manufacturer has evolved their approach to water into a comprehensive pathway to water stewardship throughout their global operations. Founded upon managing the footprint of their operations first and foremost, their approach now extends outward to account for community, watershed, and supply chain components. The company’s approach is based upon three core elements:
How our facilities source, use and discharge water
How we interact with the communities and watersheds within which we operate
Our total value chain and global footprint
Why are companies defining holistic approaches to water stewardship? Water is a unique business issue that can vary in terms of significance and business implications from geography-to-geography. This requires a non-traditional approach compared with other business variables. Take it from Todd Swingle, Director - Environmental Strategy at Cummins, Inc:
“We recognized that the approach taken with energy couldn’t be directly applied to water. Water issues are highly complex and different in every region. The economics for water are much more challenging than for energy – our company needed to take a different approach.”
A company’s water strategy must apply consistently across a wide range of location-specific water considerations such as:
- Water Supply Sustainability – Are water sources sufficient to meet the current and future needs of the surrounding ecosystem and local community?
- Infrastructure Reliability – are energy and water supplies reliable?
- Water Quality – Is water quality or the potential for contamination a concern within a given watershed?
- Water Governance and Regulations – Are there regulatory challenges with regard to water supply, use/consumption, and/or wastewater discharge? Are there trends towards full cost accounting?
- Community Awareness and Concerns – Are water issues regularly covered in the local media and community forums? What are the main concerns?
What are the advantages of implementing holistic water strategies?
Ensuring Global Consistency – establishing a company-specific culture and definition around water stewardship will minimize the potential for double standards or divergent approaches from one geography to the next.
Promoting Long Term Perspectives – moving beyond a focus on incremental conservation to embrace longer-term, sustainable solutions that support the broader capacity of the community and watershed.
Driving Fit-For-Market Decisions – empowering regional leadership to accommodate unique geographic considerations within a consistently applied strategic framework. Some geographies will be challenged by water availability, but others may be water quality, infrastructure capacity, and/or watershed restoration (e.g., reforestation).
Prioritizing Actions and Investments – deploying a systematic framework will guide effective identification and prioritization of water risks and opportunities for facilities, within communities, and across the total value chain.
Sustainability Practice Lead and Senior Consultant, Antea Group
Nick is dedicated to supporting clients with assessing, prioritizing and managing sustainability‐related business risks and opportunities. He has extensive experience supporting private and public organizations with translating their sustainability‐related aspirations into successful strategies and measurable objectives. Leveraging a unique combination of environmental engineering and business administration expertise, Nick partners with multinational clients in developing and implementing fit‐for‐purpose programs that integrate sustainability into core business practices. He also has professional experience working in the non‐profit sector which he leverages in support of community and stakeholder engagement initiatives. Nick holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, a Master’s degree in Environmental and Energy Management and a Masters of Business Administration.
Antea Group is an international engineering and environmental consulting firm specializing in full-service solutions in the fields of environment, infrastructure, urban planning and water. With access to more than 3,000 employees in over 100 offices around the world and experience on all continents, Antea Group serves clients ranging from global energy companies and manufacturers to national governments and local municipalities. For more information on water stewardship strategies and/or other sustainability, environmental, or health and safety solutions, please visit http://us.anteagroup.com/sector/water-stewardship-0.
Director of Environmental Strategy; Cummins, Inc.
Todd Swingle is the Director of Environmental Strategy for Cummins, Inc. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, Cummins is a global Fortune 500 corporation with over $17 billion in sales that designs, manufactures, distributes and services diesel and natural gas engines and related technologies. In 2011, Todd joined Cummins to lead the company’s global water resources sustainability and facilities environmental management strategy efforts. Todd now serves as Director of Environmental Strategy, providing strategic alignment across Cummins’ environmental focus areas including product environmental management, emissions compliance, environmental and energy policy, and sustainability.
Prior to joining Cummins, Todd spent approximately 20 years in the environmental consulting and public utilities sectors. He served as Public Services Administrator for St. Cloud Florida, leading the City’s public works, utilities, engineering, project management and infrastructure planning functions. He also served on various state and national water management advisory committees tasked with topics including Central Florida water supplies, Everglades Restoration and Management Guidance for developing and maintaining sustainable public utilities.
Todd holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Environmental Engineering from the University of Central Florida and a M.B.A. from the University of Florida. He is also a registered Professional Engineer.
Cummins Inc., a global power leader, is a corporation of complementary business units that design, manufacture, distribute and service engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, (USA) Cummins employs approximately 46,000 people worldwide and serves customers in approximately 190 countries and territories through a network of more than 600 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 6,500 dealer locations. Cummins earned $1.66 billion on sales of $17.3 billion in 2012. Press releases can be found on the Web at www.cummins.com.