Business Leaders Commit to Water Sustainability at Rio+20 and Urge Governments to Take Decisive Action
Pacific Institute Contributes to Communique from CEO Water Mandate Endorsers
June 17, 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: A group of 45 chief executive officers, representing a diverse range of global companies and regions, today announced a major commitment to advance corporate water management practices, and called on governments attending the Rio+20 Earth Summit to make global water security a top priority.
In a special Communiqué carrying the names of all 45 CEOs, the business leaders highlighted the urgency of the global water crisis, calling on governments to step up their efforts and to work more actively with the private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders.
The CEOs – all of whom are endorsers of the Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate – outline a range of public policy actions they believe governments should undertake to make meaningful progress on water and to better leverage the resources and capabilities of the international business community. These include:
– Developing policies and incentives to improve water productivity and efficiency in all sectors, especially agriculture.
– Establishing fair and appropriate valuation of water for agriculture, industry, and people – while at the same time ensuring water and sanitation access in accord with the UN human right to safe water and sanitation.
– Increasing investment in infrastructure and developing policies to accelerate progress on access to, and ensuring efficient and reliable delivery of, water and sanitation services.
– Sharing policies, innovations, and tools among governments and other stakeholders in order to scale up good practice and to improve general efficacy over time.
– Working more actively with the business community, private finance, and civil society.
“The CEO Water Mandate represents both a call to action and an actionable framework for companies around the world to advance toward water sustainability in their operations and supply chains,” said Jason Morrison of the Pacific Institute, which serves as part of the Mandate Secretariat. “The Communiqué calls out the urgency for government participation with business and civil society to make global water security and access a top priority.”
In the Communiqué, the endorsing companies commit to expanding their water-management practices, which include actions such as: 1) setting targets on water efficiency and waste-water management in factories and operations; 2) working with suppliers to improve their water practices; and 3) partnering with non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, governments and public authorities, investors, and other stakeholders on water-related projects and solutions. The Communiqué includes an appendix outlining examples of activities and commitments being undertaken by many of the endorsing companies.
In the Communiqué, the 45 CEOs commit to “working more actively with governments and public authorities – in responsible and transparent ways – to help solve the global water crisis.”
Approximately 800 million people in the world lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion lack basic sanitation. Due to including population growth, urbanization and industrialization trends and climate change, the United Nations estimates that two thirds of humanity will live in water-stressed regions by 2025.
All 45 chief executives are endorsers of the Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, a business-focused initiative launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2007. The special Communiqué was issued today at the Global Compact-hosted Corporate Sustainability Forum in Rio de Janeiro, just days before the official opening of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20.
“This is a powerful statement by business leaders to governments everywhere – make water sustainability a priority,” said Gavin Power, Deputy Director the UN Global Compact, and Head of the CEO Water Mandate.
He added: “The global water crisis demands collective action – uniting business, the public sector, civil society, and other stakeholders. This Communiqué and the examples of action show that many businesses are ready to raise their game even further – urging that governments do the same. Hopefully, Rio+20 will help focus minds and lead to a new era in which water-aware governments take decisive action, working with business and other partners to achieve related sustainability goals in the years and decades ahead.”