Pacific Institute Works With U.N. on CEO Water Mandate

 For Immediate Release: June 10, 2008

Pacific Institute Works With U.N. on CEO Water Mandate

Mandate Endorsers Urge Attention to Global Water Crisis at G8 Summit

(Oakland, Calif.) The Pacific Institute in Oakland, Calif., has signed a formal agreement to work with the United Nations on implementation of The CEO Water Mandate. This significant initiative 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.

“As significant users of water both directly and indirectly, the private sector has an enormous stake—and responsibility—in helping to solve the water crisis,” said Jason Morrison, director of the Pacific Institute’s Globalization program. “With more than a billion people lacking clean water and 2.6 billion without access to adequate sanitation, this is a vital challenge that the U.N. and world business leaders are stepping up to innovatively and collectively address.”

One step endorsing members of The CEO Water Mandate have taken is an international campaign urging governments of the powerful “Group of Eight” nations to address the emerging global water crisis at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in Japan in July. Currently represented by almost 30 of some of the world’s largest companies, the sign-on letter asks that, among other specific steps, the G8 nations “develop and take immediate actions to raise awareness and implement adaptation strategies with regard to water in response to climate change at home and abroad.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a group of committed businesses officially launched The CEO Water Mandate one year ago. Designed to assist companies in developing a comprehensive approach to water management, it addresses six key areas: Direct Operations, Supply Chain and Watershed Management, Collective Action, Public Policy, Community Engagement, and Transparency.

Jason Morrison will serve as the Pacific Institute’s primary contact for the U.N.’s Global Compact Office, supporting with applied research, event organization, and other services for The CEO Water Mandate. Seeking to mobilize a critical mass of companies in all regions of the world, the initiative assists endorsers through multi-stakeholder dialogues, facilitation with partnerships, and the dissemination of existing and new tools as well as other best practice guidance resources.

In particular, the Mandate’s 2008-2009 work plan calls for the development of a Transparency Framework describing general expectations for transparency as it relates to both Mandate endorsers and the initiative as a whole. The goal is to establish transparency objectives and actions that are deemed valuable and credible by key interests. Transparency has been identified by endorsing companies and external stakeholders alike as a key issue in making the Mandate a legitimate, meaningful initiative that advances best practice in the field.

“Global industry cross-sector partnerships that advance best practice have tremendous potential benefits for those concerned about environmental protection and social equity—provided these efforts are strong enough to be significant and credible,” Morrison said. “When the world’s largest companies are looking to tackle sustainable water usage and are pressuring their networks of suppliers and distributors who agree to do so as well, we are looking at a potentially powerful movement.”

Based in Oakland, California, the Pacific Institute is a nonpartisan research institute that works to create a healthier planet and sustainable communities. Through interdisciplinary research and partnering with stakeholders, the Institute produces solutions that advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity—in California, nationally, and internationally.