CSR Initiatives Focusing on Water Stewardship

World Water Day has come and gone but there are several companies that have made water stewardship one of the cornerstones of their CSR initiatives. Teva and Nestle launched their CSR initiative tied to clean water on World Water Day.

In their 'Pair for a Foot' campaign, for ever pair of Teva shoes or sandals sold this year, the brand will help protect one linear foot of global waterways through donations to clean water nonprofits, including Ocean Conservancy and Waterkeeper Alliance. Through this they anticipate to help preserve 4.3 million feet of waterways.

Nestle meanwhile, launched its Corporate Citizenship Report and it features the company's efforts and longterm goals in water conservation.  Some of Nestle's water efforts include partnering with local communities and stakeholders to support up to two watershed improvement projects per year. They also advocate for federal standards on public disclosure on source, quality, and process reporting for bottled water.

As part of their CSR efforts Levi's Strauss has partnered with water.org and has committed $250,000 to fund programs that collectively will provide at least 52.8 million gallons (200 million liters) to safe water projects.  Water.org’s programs focuses on clean water and sanitation initiatives in South Asia, Latin America and Africa which are regions that could definitely use a boost.

Many other companies are taking the leap forward in water conservation. Even entertainment company Cirque du Soleil installed a seven layer filtration system for their O show in Las Vegas in 2009. They also are involved in the One Drop Foundation as part of their CSR initiative, they use a ground breaking method of using theater and arts to educate people in  Central American about watershed management and water conservation practices.

International beverage companies like Pepsico and Coca-Cola are also doing their bit towards water conservation. Both companies have launched eco-friendly bottles made of plant-based material which radically cuts down on the use of petrochemicals. Initial reports suggest that this new packaging technology also has a tremendous water saving. Pepsico has previously been involved in the “positive water balance” initiative in India. Through a combination of direct seeding initiatives, the company replenished nearly six billion liters of water across the country, exceeding the total intake of approximately five billion liters of water by its manufacturing facilities.

As part of their CSR initiatives, even Intel is involved in water stewardship. They have focused efforts over the past decade to continuously improve water efficiency, investing over $100 million which today results in savings of ~3 billion gallons of water each year.

Water harvesting is something simple that every company can do and it has become a major CSR focus. Some companies are even using open source technologies like Google Earth to determine slopes and troughs for optimal water harvesting. Every little thing counts towards water conservation. Within the next decade water could very well be the new oil.