The CEO Water Mandate 3rd Working Conference

The CEO Water Mandate
3rd Working Conference
March 15-17, 2009
World Water Forum, Istanbul
MEETING 
SUMMARY

Overview

In July 2007, the UN Secretary-General, in partnership with international business leaders and under the auspices of the UN Global Compact, launched The CEO Water Mandate – an initiative established to better understand and advance water stewardship in the private sector. The Mandate was built upon six core elements considered to be critical in addressing corporate water management: Direct Operations, Supply Chain and Watershed Management, Collective Action, Public Policy, Community Engagement, and Transparency.

Following meetings at UN Headquarters in New York City in March 2008 and Stockholm during World Water Week in August 2008, the UN Global Compact in collaboration with the Pacific Institute, convened The CEO Water Mandate’s third working conference on March 15-17, 2009, during the Fifth World Water Forum in Istanbul. The workshop consisted of over 90 participants representing 29 endorsing companies, three prospective endorsers, 15 UN and government agencies, 19 civil society organizations, and various other organizations. In addition to the multi-stakeholder workshop, the Mandate held three other events: a seminar on the initiative’s Transparency Framework and a general informational session about the initiative (both open to all World Water Forum registrants), along with an endorser-only planning meeting.

The working conference’s overarching goal was to explore how companies can positively engage with water-related public policy. It featured discussions on a range of issues, including: 1) the risks and opportunities posed by corporate engagement in water policy, 2) basic expectations and aspirational goals for such engagement, 3) and a preliminary outline of a comprehensive framework for how companies can understand their engagement activities. The workshop featured two breakout sessions – one on the links between corporate water footprinting and public policy and a second on the practical implications of the human right to water for business.

The Mandate’s transparency seminar focused on the key findings of the initiative’s recent study, “Water Disclosure 2.0 – Assessment of Current and Emerging Practice in Corporate Water Reporting”. The seminar featured a panel providing stakeholder perspectives on the current state of corporate water disclosure, including representatives from endorsing companies, civil society, and the investment community, followed by a facilitated discussion open to all attendees. The CEO Water Mandate informational session provided an opportunity to disseminate information to the public on the initiative’s key characteristics, objectives, activities, and accomplishments and give attendees an opportunity to provide input into the Mandate’s future direction.

The endorser-only meeting served as a forum for companies to: 1) digest feedback from the multi-stakeholder working conference, 2) decide on how the initiative should pursue further activities relating to public policy engagement and other existing workstreams, such as the continuously evolving Transparency Framework, and 2) determine next steps on the Mandate’s funding, recruitment efforts, potential partnerships, and future events in 2009 and beyond. […]

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