How Businesses Can Help Build a Water-Resilient Society that Can Bounce Back from Major Societal Disruptions

February 2, 2021, Oakland, California — Today the Pacific Institute released a brief outlining the role of the business sector in a robust COVID-19 response. Rebuilding and Resilience: Phases 2 and 3 is the second and final installment of the Pacific Institute’s Water and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Business Framework for Water and COVID-19 series of briefs.

The business community has a key role to play in responding to COVID-19, rebuilding the economy, and preventing and mitigating future shock events — both broadly speaking and specifically regarding water and handwashing. This brief outlines how businesses can contribute to a “blue” economic recovery and help make society more resilient to future shocks.

Even when the direct health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic have largely subsided, its effects on the global economy will linger for years to come. Much has been made of a “green” recovery to COVID-19, one that simultaneously stimulates and strengthens the economy and advances critical climate goals that ultimately make our economies more sustainable and equitable. But this “green” recovery to COVID-19 must also be “blue”: a robust economic recovery goes hand in hand with water stewardship. Investing in drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene both saves lives, aids climate change mitigation and adaption, and brings economic benefits.

Many of the worst, most visible impacts of climate change will be felt through our relationship with water. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the fragility of our water systems, not only to climate change, but to many other crises. We must make our water systems resilient to potential major societal disruptions, including global pandemics, natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes, and severe recessions. This brief outlines the steps businesses can take to build a water-resilient society that can bounce back from major societal disruptions, including implementing robust water policies, encouraging effective and transparent public water governance, and participating in collective action – including through the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate’s Water Resilience Coalition

“This is an important moment,” says co-author Lillian Holmes of the Pacific Institute. “Recovery and resilience are essential not only to protect public health and economic prosperity but also to ensure that companies can mitigate the risks arising from this pandemic and future shocks. And with economic rebuilding underway, businesses have a powerful opportunity to promote a resilient society that will meet both communities’ and companies’ needs over the long term.”

Read Rebuilding and Resilience: Phases 2 and 3 here.