World Water Day: how businesses can take more action on water

Today is World Water Day! 🌊

Our Earth is called the “Blue Planet” because of the large water distribution on the surface of this planet. Yet, there is a lot of ‘hidden impact’ we are having on the blue of our planet.

Today we share four tips to do more on water stewardship as a business:

1 Start with your product

2 Take a close look at your supply chain

3 Don’t forget about waste

4 Collaborate on water achievements

1. Start with your product

Is water impact inherent to your product or service? Having much water in your product such as bottled water, sweetened drinks or laundry detergents can connect your business to sensitive issues related to the communities of which water is sourced. The world requires businesses to step up and become the solution to these issues instead of the problem.Better action: Spadel is on a continuous journey to take this role and this week they become B Corp certified, showcasing that they take significant actions on the positive impact their business model has and can have in the future. Last year, as part of our BIA advisory service – offered through the B Corp Way – we supported Spadel on an ad hoc basis specifically with supply chain and procurement-related assessment questions. One part of the much bigger puzzle in becoming B Corp Certified, but we are super proud of @Spadel for this achievement! More here.

2. Take a close look at your supply chain

Quite often clients of ours believe their water footprint to be insignificant. Their offices use very little water, or they offer products without water as an ingredient. It is often forgotten how water is a significant source to produce many raw materials, especially agricultural commodities and materials like plastics and metals (both in mining and manufacturing). To illustrate: cotton for one pair of jeans takes 8 liters of water, and the 5.3 liters of water is needed to produce a typical single-use PET plastic bottle. Companies that have their product in the ‘cloud’ such as e-commerce or web applications might forget their water impact, but a typical data center uses about 3-5 million gallons of water per day for cooling purposes (more here). So, great step companies can take is taking a closer look at the role of water in the supply chain of their product, platform, or packaging.Better actions: Companies are increasingly developing science based water targets and WWF offers a water risk filter tool which is a great tip to start understanding water in your supply chains. Companies such as Tchibo, Edeka, and H&M group are using it.

3. Don’t forget about waste

Waste is of a significant impact. First, polluted waste streams, such as plastics and hazardous chemicals, enter our water sources. But water in our manufacturing processes are also too rarely reused. In 2017, over 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is released to the environment without treatment according to UN Water. Yet, Energy, clean water, fertilizers, and nutrients can be extracted from wastewater and used to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.Better action: Ecofixe supports businesses and municipalities to biologically treat their wastewater. They do this with treatment solutions that create a positive social impact too.

4. Collaborate on water achievements

As showcased in the other examples much of the water impact of companies is made in tandem with others, such as suppliers, employees end consumers or other stakeholders. An important route into reducing your water footprint is to creatively activate people and joining in on the solution.Better actions: Companies are joining the CEO Water Mandate of the UN Global Compact, meant to tackle the water challenge from the top down and as well as the Alliance for Water Stewardship to align on action plans. Additionally, the Water Action Hub featuring all types of water projects. Already 1836 company projects are connected on the platform by companies such as Heineken, Danone and Dupont. To take employees or consumers along you can start with providing better insights into water footprints. For instance with the Personal water footprint or Product water footprint.

 

We hope to have provided you with some extra insights into taking actions on water for your business. Of course, there is much more work to do, and we are curious to hear your experience with water as a sustainability topic. Want to connect? ‘Drop’ us a line at Info@theterrace.nl.