Issues We Work On

Alliance for Water Stewardship

Solving water challenges worldwide cannot be achieved through policy responses alone. Indeed, complementary sustainability strategies rely on economic tools (i.e., market-based instruments) that incentivize voluntary improvements in practice.

The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) is building such a tool to be launched in 2013 to promote and reward sustainable use of water. AWS is helping to drive collective responses to shared water risk through a multi-stakeholder-developed international standard based on four outcomes:

  • Good water governance;
  • Improved water balance;
  • Improved water quality, and;
  • Protection of important water-related areas.

The AWS standard is designed to give companies and water service providers a systematic and verifiable way to assess their own water practices and related impacts on the surrounding catchment, and communicate such issues with stakeholders. By voluntarily implementing the standard, businesses and water service providers will be better able to manage their water risks, whether those risks are physical, regulatory, or reputational. The standard system will also help to drive innovation and efficiency gains, while improving the standard users’ relationships with stakeholders, who may include investors, financiers, buyers, communities, regulators, or consumers.

The standard is designed to be used primarily by businesses and water service providers who are significant water users, and is equally applicable to industry and agriculture. While much of the motivation for adopting the standard has come from large corporations that recognize the need to address their water risks, it is being designed to also be applicable to small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The Pacific Institute is a co-founder of the Alliance for Water Stewardship and serves as one of AWS’s ten board organizations, in addition to:

  • Carbon Disclosure Project
  • CEO Water Mandate
  • European Water Partnership
  • International Water Management Institute
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • United Nations Environment Programme
  • Water Environment Federation
  • Water Stewardship Australia
  • WWF International

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