Celebrating World Water Day: Companies Making Waves in Water Stewardship

Mar 22, 2017 3:15 PM ET

Water is the essence of life. Yet, for many, this basic human right is rapidly drying up. With climate change dramatically affecting rainfall patterns and water availability, the global water crisis is intensifying in many parts of the world. Today, more than 650 million people still lack access to safe drinking water sources, while another 2.4 billion do not have access to basic water sanitation.

However, the opportunity to make a difference is tremendous. As World Water Day approaches this Wednesday, March 22, it is an important moment in time for both individuals and businesses alike to take a step back and reexamine water’s interconnectedness with broader environmental and human rights challenges. Thankfully, more companies are making strides in offering real solutions to many of the planet’s most challenging water issues, partly in response to the water-related Sustainable Development Goal (Goal #6). Today, best-in-class organizations that are looking to drive understanding and action around water scarcity are focusing on the following trends to make the most impact:

Commitments that Extend Throughout A Company’s Value Chain: Most businesses begin their water stewardship journey by focusing on reducing water usage from direct operations. However, an increasing number of companies are recognizing that impacts extend to, and are much larger, in products’ consumer-use and/or supply chain phases. Today, more innovative companies are working to address these impacts. After finding at-home washing to be the largest impact associated with its products in a 2007 life cycle assessment, Levi’s became an early adopter of educating consumers by launching a series of awareness initiatives that encouraged shoppers to wash their jeans less frequently. Additionally, companies like General Mills, PepsiCo and Kellogg are leading the way in setting goals in their agricultural supply chain that aim for positive water impacts.

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