Pacific Institute Sponsors Conference on “Water & Long Term Value” Fostering Discussion on the Future of Water Stewardship

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On October 24-25, the “Water & Long Term Value” conference coordinated by Skytop Strategies with the Pacific Institute as lead sponsor will bring together a prominent list of speakers and global players in water stewardship to explore the role water plays in company performance, why investors care, and how companies can benefit from stewardship. Attendees include companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola, Facebook, General Mills, Levi Strauss & Co., Intel Corporation, and Nestlé. Pacific Institute President Jason Morrison will provide an opening presentation on “Water Security: The Defining Issue of the 21st Century” and will serve as a panelist for the discussion on “Policy Outlook on Water: 2017 and Beyond” along with Lisa Hook, Sustainable Innovation Manager of Woman + Water, Gap Inc. Pacific Institute Water Program Director Heather Cooley and Research Associates Cora Kammeyer and Abbey Warner will also be participating.

Issues of water risk and security within an increasingly variable climate are becoming more and more important for the daily operations and strategic trajectory of the public and private sectors. There is a need to come together and discuss current and future practices that drive business forward with the prudent use of water resources. In addressing these issues, topics of discussion will include:

  • The Integration of Centralized and Decentralized Water System Approaches
  • Prudential Water Stewardship: Hedging Against Global Water Risk
  • Analyzing Water Risk: How to Meaningfully Report on Water Strategies
  • Investor Tools and Indexes: Benchmarking a Company’s Performance in Water Management
  • Next Generation Water Management: How to Modernize Outdated Approaches to Stewardship
  • The Cost of Decentralization: Putting a Price Tag on On Site Water Reuse
  • From Plan to Action: Implementing Robust and Comprehensive Water Plans
  • The Emergence of Integrating Water Sustainability into Business Strategy: Moving Toward a New Standard for Industry
  • The Crucial Role of the Board: Conceptualizing a Company-Wide Water Policy

 
You may view the full conference agenda here.

The two-day conference will take place on Tuesday, October 24 and Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at the Fort Mason Center on 2 Marina Boulevard in San Francisco, California.

Those wishing to attend may register here.

Exploring the Case for Corporate Context-Based Water Targets

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Published: April 12, 2017
Authors: CDP, CEO Water Mandate (a project of the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact), The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute, and WWF
Pages: 28

contextMore companies than ever before are setting water targets, yet global water stress continues to rise. How can companies ensure that their water targets align with meaningful outcomes?

In this discussion paper, CDP, CEO Water Mandate (a project of the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and WWF call for a new approach for setting meaningful corporate water targets that take into account the unique local contexts of the basins in which companies operate.

Since water issues are primarily local, each basin has unique challenges that need to be considered when managing its water resources. Context-based metrics and targets recognize the particular challenges present in each basin, allowing for physical and social thresholds and tracking water use relative to basin thresholds and availability. In order to be effective, besides addressing site-specific concerns, context-based water metrics and targets should include input from local stakeholders, be informed by contextual social needs, make the best use of available science, and align with local and global public policy objectives.

This context-based approach is not only necessary for protecting water resources, it also offer business value. Such an approach would help drive corporate alignment with effective public policy water goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals.

View and download the full report here.

Serving the Public Interest: Corporate Water Stewardship and Sustainable Development

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Published: September 28, 2015
Pages: 6

Corporate Water Stewardship and SDG's

In 2000, when the UN agreed to the eight global goals known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the relationship between environmental issues and sustainable development was not prominently featured. Today, a wider group of stakeholders understands the vital role that water and sanitation play in the economy, society, and the environment.

The process of defining the goals that constitute the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was more inclusive, and the resulting goals are relevant to development concerns facing all nations, including the developed world. The adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which define the global development priorities for the next 15 years, lays out a compelling framework for collective action by government, the private sector, and civil society to address social and environmental issues that inhibit economic development and shared prosperity. Of the seventeen new goals, SDG 6 is dedicated exclusively to ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

The Pacific Institute as co-secretariat of the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate will play a pivotal role in the implementation of SDG6. As part of this endeavor, the Mandate, in collaboration with WaterAid and WWF, has developed a paper that lays out opportunities for how the business community can make a positive contribution to achieving the goal.  The paper also spells out the potential risks involved in these engagements and presents a call to action for all sectors to play a proactive role in helping to achieve SDG6.

We share this paper with you now and encourage you to disseminate it within your networks so that together we can all work toward achievement of this new global agenda on water.

Download the paper here.

August 2015 Online Update

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august-updateIn this month’s Online Update:

  • The Impacts the California Drought has had on Agriculture
  • New Guide for Bringing Integrity to Water Stewardship Initiatives
  • Update from World Water Week in Stockholm 
  • The CEO Water Mandate’s Water Stewardship Toolbox

And more!

Read the August 2015 Online Update.

Guidance for Companies on Respecting the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation

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Published: January 16, 2015
Authors: Mai-Lan Ha, Jason Morrison, Rachel Davis (Shift), Beth Holzman (Shift), and Lloyd Lipsett (Shift)
Pages: 106

The first comprehensive guidance for companies about how to meet their responsibility to respect the human rights to water and sanitation was launched today by the United Nations Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate – a public-private initiative designed to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water sustainability policies and practices –  at UN-Water’s 2015 Annual International Zaragoza Conference on “Water and Sustainable Development: From Vision to Action.” The beta version of the Guidance for Companies on Respecting the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation: Bringing a Human Rights Lens to Corporate Water Stewardship will help companies translate their responsibility to respect the human rights to water and sanitation into their existing water management policies, practices, and company cultures.

Launched in 2007 by the UN Secretary-General, the CEO Water Mandate is overseen by the UN Global Compact, a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and implemented in partnership with the Pacific Institute.

The guidance, developed by the CEO Water Mandate and Shift, a leading center of practice on implementation of the UN Guiding Principles, aims to provide companies with practical measures on how to bring a human rights lens to their existing corporate water stewardship practices. Its development was informed not only by project partners with expertise in water resources and human rights, but also by business representatives, civil society organizations, and UN agencies.

With the formal recognition of the human right to water and sanitation in 2010 by the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, and the adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2011, there are increasing expectations that companies align their water management practices with their responsibility to respect human rights.

“Ensuring people have access to water and sanitation services is vital to ensure healthy communities and vibrant economies,” said Gavin Power, Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact and Head of the CEO Water Mandate. “This guidance helps businesses effectively meet their responsibility to respect by understanding, responding to, and communicating to stakeholders their water-related impacts. Doing so is at the cornerstone of good corporate water management practice and is the basis for any company action to support the rights.”

The Guidance for Companies on Respecting the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation is designed to be applicable to a broad range of corporate water users, and underscores the important nature of effective stakeholder engagement throughout the process.

Jason Morrison, Technical Director of the CEO Water Mandate and Program Director of the Corporate Sustainability Program of the Pacific Institute, added, “The guidance helps translate what respecting the human rights to water and sanitation means for both water and human rights practitioners in companies. Companies will now be able to properly implement the changes necessary to ensure those rights are respected. The collaborative, iterative process in which it was developed means the guidance is accessible and feasible for companies, while remaining meaningful for their stakeholders.”

“This guidance provides real-world examples and feasible steps for companies to help them understand and take action on the impact their operations have on peoples’ access to water and sanitation. Water and sanitation are crucial issues to both the environment and human rights and this guidance provides companies with a way to take their existing water and sanitation programs and broaden or adapt them in order to meet their responsibility to respect the rights,” said Rachel Davis, Managing Director of Shift.

Companies have increasingly recognized their water practices have environmental impacts; they are now beginning to focus on understanding how their practices impact human rights. In response, businesses can look to the guidance to provide step-by-step direction for their responsibility to respect human rights via the key procedural elements of the UN Guiding Principles.

Download the full report here. 

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About the CEO Water Mandate
Launched in July 2007 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the CEO Water Mandate is a public-private initiative designed to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water sustainability policies and practices. Led by the United Nations Global Compact in partnership with the Pacific Institute, the CEO Water Mandate offers a unique action platform to share best and emerging practices and to forge multi-stakeholder partnerships to address the problems of access to water and sanitation. The CEO Water Mandate has been endorsed by 120 companies from a range of industries and sectors. www.ceowatermandate.org   

About the Pacific Institute
The Pacific Institute, a Co-Secretariat of the CEO Water Mandate since the inception of the initiative, is one of the world’s leading independent nonprofits conducting research to create a healthier planet and sustainable communities. Based in Oakland, California, the Institute conducts interdisciplinary research and partners with stakeholders to produce solutions that advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity. The Pacific Institute works to change policy and find real-world solutions to problems such as water shortages, habitat destruction, climate change, and environmental injustice. www.pacinst.org 

About Shift
Shift is an independent, non-profit center for business and human rights practice. It is staffed by a team that was centrally involved in shaping and writing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and is chaired by the author of the Guiding Principles, Professor John Ruggie.

Shift provides the expert knowledge and guidance for businesses and governments to put the UN Guiding Principles into practice. Based on lessons from this work, Shift develops public guidance materials to support improved practices for the respect and protection of human rights globally. www.shiftproject.org

 

2014 Year in Review

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In this Year End Review:

  • Victories of 2014
  • Sustainable Water Management
  • Corporate Sustainability
  • California Drought Initiative 
  • Upcoming Projects in 2015
And more! 
 

The Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines – A common and meaningful way for companies to track and communicate their water performance, risks, and impacts

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by Peter Schulte, Research Associate

October 7, 2014

The Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines are available as a PDF report and web-based tool.

disclosure-guidelines-cover-2014This week, the CEO Water Mandate launched its finalized Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines – a common approach for companies to effectively and intelligibly disclose the many elements of their corporate water management practice to key stakeholders. The Guidelines present an important step in corporate water stewardship that can help companies communicate with their stakeholders, and better understand themselves in the process. Here are a few (of many!) ways in which the Guidelines can benefit a company.

Demonstrating good practice

By providing meaningful quantitative metrics and qualitative approaches that describe corporate water practice, the Guidelines help companies demonstrate good performance and reduced risks and impacts to investors, consumers, communities, suppliers, their own employees, and others. This is particularly important as, in the past, many companies have used water-related metrics that are at best of only limited use, and at worse quite misleading! For example, traditional globally-aggregated water use metrics inherently hide and undervalue the local nature of water resource challenges. Perhaps a company’s global water use has decreased, but has it decreased in the places that are facing the most urgent water shortages?

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Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines: Towards a Common Approach to Report Water Issues

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Published: September 29, 2014
Authors: Peter Schulte, Jason Morrison, Lauren Koopman (PwC), Natalie Allan (PwC), Cate Lamb (CDP), Karina de Souza (CDP), Marcus Norton (CDP), Tien Shiao (World Resources Institute), and Paul Reig (World Resources Institute)
Pages: 92

Collaboratively-Produced Guidelines Help Companies Effectively Disclose the Many Elements of Corporate Water Management Practice

The UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate initiative has released the finalized Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines – a common approach for companies to effectively and intelligibly disclose the many elements of their corporate water management practice to key stakeholders. The Guidelines are available as a PDF report and web-based tool.

Launched in 2007 by the UN Secretary-General, the CEO Water Mandate is overseen by the UN Global Compact, and implemented in partnership with the Pacific Institute.

Over the last several years, a proliferation of different water assessment and disclosure metrics and tools has become available. This array of tools and frameworks has been helpful in many respects, but has also resulted in significant confusion over what is valuable and meaningful to disclose and reporting that is often not comparable from company to company and year to year.

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The Guidelines developed by the CEO Water Mandate in collaboration with CDP, Global Reporting Initiative, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and World Resources Institute– aim to harmonize reporting approaches, minimizing reporting burdens so companies spend less time on different reports and more time actively managing water. This work is the product of a multi-year, highly-collaborative effort, informed not only by project partners with expertise in water resources and corporate reporting, but also by business representatives, civil society organizations, and UN agencies.

“Sustainable water management and advancing a common approach to disclosure begins with agreeing on what we’re talking about in terms of water scarcity, stress, and risk,” said Gavin Power, Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact and Head of the CEO Water Mandate. “These guidelines give us a starting point for common understanding which the Mandate can build on and points to the potential for and importance of coordination and alignment among the various initiatives addressing corporate water stewardship.”

“The Guidelines accomplish two necessary objectives: advance metrics and qualitative approaches that provide meaningful information about corporate water practice and drive convergence among company reporting so that they are more comparable and easier for report audiences to understand,” said lead author Peter Schulte of the Pacific Institute. “The collaborative, iterative process in which they were developed also help to ensure the guidance is accessible and feasible for companies, while remaining meaningful for their stakeholders.”

A key point that came to light in the development of the Guidelines was the need for a common understanding of the terms used to describe geographic locations with water challenges. To promote meaningful information and disclosure, the terms “water scarcity,” “water stress,” and “water risk,” often used interchangeably, have been precisely defined and incorporated in the Guidelines. Nine organizations in the water stewardship field collaborated to agree on these common definitions published in the accompanying water-related terminology discussion paper.

Companies are fundamentally changing the way they address water. The Guidelines offer a common approach to disclosure, putting forward metrics that can begin to harmonize practice and also providing guidance to help companies define what water-related topics to report.

“The private sector is increasingly investing in water-efficient technologies, working with suppliers to encourage more responsible water use, designing cleaner and more efficient products that in turn help consumers lower their water use, and seeking to advance sustainable water management outside their fencelines as a way to mitigate water-related risks and negative impacts,” said Project Director Jason Morrison, Director of the Pacific Institute Corporate Sustainability Program. “Disclosure has emerged as a key component of corporate water management practice, and our outreach has shown that many companies are looking for detailed guidance on how to do it most effectively.”

In response to the growing importance to businesses of water management and water disclosure more specifically, the Guidelines address the ways companies:

  • Measure their water performance;
  • Assess conditions in the river basins where they operate;
  • Understand their water-related risks, impacts, and opportunities;
  • Develop effective water management strategies; and
  • Communicate these issues to stakeholders.

The Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines are designed to be applicable to a broad range of corporate water users, to capture the complex and location-specific nature of water resource dynamics and corporate action. Companies that are looking for detailed guidance on how to more effectively disclose the many elements of corporate water management will also find in the Guidelines response strategies they can take to address the risks, opportunities, and impacts that come to light in their assessment.

Download the Corpoate Water Disclosure Guidelines  (PDF). 

Download the Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines Executive Summary (PDF). 

Download the Water-Related Terminology paper (PDF). 

CEO Water Mandate Highlights Sanitation at Stockholm Water

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September 3, 2014  Stockholm, Sweden: The UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate convened its annual multi-stakeholder conference in Stockholm, Sweden – an event that featured the release of a new study on the role of business in the global sanitation challenge.

More than 100 senior leaders from international business, the public sector and UN agencies, civil society, and other interests attended the kick-off event of the CEO Water Mandate’s three days of activities taking place as part of World Water Week 2014.

“This event provided another opportunity for the CEO Water Mandate to advance discussions and actions in relation to the crucial Post-2015 agenda – and we are most pleased to be giving special attention to global sanitation challenges”, said Gavin Power, Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact. “Sanitation is the most lagging of the Millennium Development Goals, and urgent action and coordination will be needed in the coming years and decades”.

Adequate sanitation coverage is a vital component of sustainable development and poverty alleviation in the 21st century. The CEO Water Mandate released a study – with a supporting foreword by the UN Deputy Secretary-General – that makes the case that action on sanitation is a moral imperative for companies around the world, and shows the business risks from lack of sanitation, as well as the opportunities and benefits offered by sanitation interventions.

The study – Exploring the Business Case for Corporate Action on Sanitation – points out that the health impacts and contamination of ecosystems by human waste worldwide is one of the most significant contributors to infant and maternal mortality, poor economic growth, and lack of opportunity, especially for women. The situation is critical: every year half a million children still die from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation, and the world will miss the Millennium Development Goal of halving by 2015 the proportion of the population without sustainable access to sanitation by more than half a billion people.

“Articulating the business case for action on sanitation is essential in showing companies why and how they can contribute to those global development efforts, and in the process strengthen their business”, said lead author Peter Schulte of the Pacific Institute, which serves as co-secretariat of the CEO Water Mandate.

In addition to the sanitation study, the CEO Water Mandate conference also featured discussions on the business respect for the human right to water and sanitation, and corporate water disclosure.

Download the full report

The CEO Water Mandate’s organizing and supporting partners for the Stockholm conference and related activities include: Alliance for Water Stewardship; GIZ; Water Integrity Network; World Business Council for Sustainable Development; ABInBev; Carlson Rezidor; Dow; and PepsiCo.

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Exploring the Business Case for Corporate Action on Sanitation

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Released: September 2, 2014
Author: Peter Schulte and Margaret Fenwick

ceo-water-mandate-sanitation-coverMore than 100 senior leaders from international business, the public sector and UN agencies, civil society, and other interests attended the kick-off event of the CEO Water Mandate’s three days of activities taking place as part of World Water Week 2014.

“This event provided another opportunity for the CEO Water Mandate to advance discussions and actions in relation to the crucial Post-2015 agenda – and we are most pleased to be giving special attention to global sanitation challenges”, said Gavin Power, Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact. “Sanitation is the most lagging of the Millennium Development Goals, and urgent action and coordination will be needed in the coming years and decades”.

Adequate sanitation coverage is a vital component of sustainable development and poverty alleviation in the 21st century. The CEO Water Mandate released a study – with a supporting foreword by the UN Deputy Secretary-General – that makes the case that action on sanitation is a moral imperative for companies around the world, and shows the business risks from lack of sanitation, as well as the opportunities and benefits offered by sanitation interventions.

The study – Exploring the Business Case for Corporate Action on Sanitation – points out that the health impacts and contamination of ecosystems by human waste worldwide is one of the most significant contributors to infant and maternal mortality, poor economic growth, and lack of opportunity, especially for women. The situation is critical: every year half a million children still die from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation, and the world will miss the Millennium Development Goal of halving by 2015 the proportion of the population without sustainable access to sanitation by more than half a billion people.

“Articulating the business case for action on sanitation is essential in showing companies why and how they can contribute to those global development efforts, and in the process strengthen their business”, said lead author Peter Schulte of the Pacific Institute, which serves as co-secretariat of the CEO Water Mandate.

In addition to the sanitation study, the CEO Water Mandate conference also featured discussions on the business respect for the human right to water and sanitation, and corporate water disclosure.

Download the full report

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