Published 4 years ago.
About a 13 minute read.
This year, WWD is typically awash in announcements of commitments and advancements in preserving our most precious resource, but new CDP data on the subject feels like a wet blanket.
Each year on World Water Day, players large
and small resurface to mark their progress in a number of areas, and this year
is no different — particularly, with regard to increasing access to safe water
for communities in need around the world.
Image credit: Deltares
First, in line with this year’s World Water Day theme to “leave no one behind,”
Kimberly-Clark is using an
innovative, web-based analytical tool to help communities develop sustainable
water management plans for watersheds at risk.
The maker of brands including Huggies, Cottonelle and Kotex has
partnered with Deltares, an independent institute
for applied research in the field of water, to develop
— a dashboard which visualizes water-scarcity risks for an entire watershed, as
well as specific sectors and sub-groups, such as industrial users, farmers and
households. Kimberly-Clark is using the dashboard to raise stakeholder awareness
of local water risks and to encourage collaboration between government,
business, communities and NGOs to preserve freshwater resources.
“When we started our water conservation program, the goal was to reduce water
usage in our mills to a sustainable level,” said Vetri Dhagumudi, Global
Water Program Leader at Kimberly-Clark. “But we quickly realized that we
couldn’t just focus on our own facilities. It is critical that we consider the
whole watershed and work with local stakeholders to understand water risk. That
way, no one gets left behind.”
Kimberly-Clark began using WaterLOUPE in
identify local water risks in the river basin surrounding its tissue mills in
Colombia. Last month, the company introduced the tool in the Western
Cape province of South Africa to more than 30 community and government
leaders gathered at Kimberly-Clark’s Epping mill near Cape Town. The discussion
focused on ways to address severe regional water
which nearly led the city to turn off water taps and require residents to begin
queuing for water last year.
“The first phase of the program, the stakeholder workshop, provides incredibly
specific data that localizes and informs the online tool. It’s empowering for
community leaders because for the first time they have visibility into
water-scarcity risks of the entire watershed over a 30-year period,” said
Dimmie Hendriks, Project Leader and Senior Expert on Drought at Deltares.
A risk assessment will be developed for the Western Cape Water Supply System
area, using data from the workshop; on Thursday, Kimberly-Clark released a
mini-documentary on the workshop.
“Everyone in the city of Cape Town and in the areas around the Western Cape are
pretty much all dependent on the Western Cape water supply system,” Christine
Colvin, Freshwater Senior Manager for WWF South Africa, commented during
the WaterLOUPE water-scarcity workshop. “We realized that we couldn't rely on
new sources of water coming within that short time horizon. We had to save our
way out of a drought. Bringing different stakeholders to the table helps us to
unpack different perspectives of water risk that are present in that system and
look for solutions.”
Kimberly-Clark plans to implement WaterLOUPE in 12 water-stressed regions around
the world where it operates. The tool is currently being applied in Colombia,
Brazil, Argentina, Peru and South Africa.
Image credit: One Drop
Next, international wholesale and food
specialist METRO is launching the METRO Water
Initiative in partnership with
international water foundation One Drop.
As part of the broader METRO Water Initiative, the company will host a two-week
in-store campaign in METRO retail stores in 22 countries across Europe and Asia,
where a portion of sales from products of 22 participating suppliers will be
used to fund One Drop’s water access projects in India. The campaign aims to
raise more than €1.2 million, with One Drop matching the amount raised in-store,
and will be an annual event around World Water Day during the course of the
Throughout India, more than 600 million people are exposed to extreme water
stress and about 70 percent of available water is classified as contaminated.
Specifically, the METRO Water Initiative will support the northern District of
Sheohar, in Bihar, India where nearly half of the region does not have safe
One Drop — an international foundation created by Cirque du Soleil founder
Guy Laliberté — is on a mission to ensure sustainable access to safe water
and sanitation for the most vulnerable communities through innovative
partnerships, creativity and the power of art. Together with its partners, for
over 10 years One Drop has brought its unique Social Art for Behaviour
Change™ approach to promote the
adoption of healthy practices around water, sanitation and hygiene through
locally inspired social art programs, empowering the communities to take
ownership of the water projects over time.
In collaboration with international NGO Water for People, local governments,
social art partners, civil society organizations, microfinancing institutions
and the private
this joint initiative aims to provide permanent access to sustainable, safe
water and sanitation to more than a quarter of a million people in India — one
of the most affected areas by the global water crisis.
This project aims to achieve three specific goals in the region:
Increase the use and sustainable management of safe water and sanitation
Sustain the adoption of targeted water-related behaviors;
Improve the market system for water-related products and services.
“As part of this effort, it is important to recognize the important role that
social behaviour change can have on finding sustainable solutions for
communities in need, like Sheohar. Providing access to safe water is just the
beginning,” said Marie-Claude Bourgie, Chief Development Officer at One
Drop. “Founded by the same creative mind behind Cirque du Soleil, One Drop has
developed a unique Social Art for Behaviour Change approach to promote the
adoption of healthy behaviours around water, sanitation, and hygiene. Through
locally inspired social art programs, One Drop empowers communities to take
ownership of their water projects, which ensures both long-term impact and
“This project is a common thread that allows a variety of companies and
institutions to join forces to do good. Water is a human right, but it is so
unequally distributed around the world that more than 2 billion people still
live without safe access to clean water. By partnering for a common goal, we
have the power to change the lives of more than a quarter of a million people
for the better,” said Heiko Hutmacher, Chief Human Resources Officer and Member
of the Management Board of METRO AG responsible for Sustainability
The participating suppliers in this year’s METRO Water initiative are (some with
more than one brand): Barilla, Bolton, Campofrio, The Coca-Cola
Company, Danone, Diageo,
Ecolab, Glaxosmithkline, Henkel, Johnson
Diversey, Lavazza, Mars,
McCain, Mondelez, PepsiCo, RB, SC Johnson, Werner & Mertz
Image credit: PepsiCo
Meanwhile, PepsiCo announced
today that it has helped more than 22 million people in underserved communities
around the world gain access to safe water since 2006. In the last year alone,
PepsiCo says the company and its partners expanded access for more than 6
million people, indicating it is on track to exceed its goal to support a total
of 25 million people with safe water access by 2025.
Around the world, 1 in 9 people struggle with access to safe and clean drinking
water. Clean water shortages threaten the health and safety of communities,
and contributing to waterborne diseases, famine, migration and violence. To
address these issues, PepsiCo has set a number of interconnected goals that aim
to contribute to its Positive Water Impact, meaning its efforts and partnerships
are designed to enable long-term, sustainable water security for its business
and others who depend on water availability.
As part of this effort, The PepsiCo Foundation works with leading non-profits to
expand access in some of the world's most water-stressed areas — including
working with Water.org to provide access to affordable financing for water
and sanitation improvement projects in India; with the Inter-American
Development Bank to better manage changes in water availability in Latin
America, and the China Women’s Development Foundation to expand safe water
access in rural areas of China.
The PepsiCo Foundation is also working with WaterAid in southern India to
bring clean water to more than 200,000 people by restoring wells, harvesting
rainwater in schools, and building piped water supply systems. In a project in
Sri City, 21 tap stands were installed in Ananthapuram village, which
will be converted into high-quality, permanent structures to establish a
sustained water supply and proper waste water drainage. The PepsiCo Foundation
and WaterAid plan to bring similar solutions to other high-water-risk
communities with the intention that increasing access to clean water will
positively impact the health, security and employment opportunities of local
residents, particularly women, who otherwise have to walk long distances to
“The world faces a global water crisis, and we believe that PepsiCo can make a
difference by acting as good stewards of local water resources. As members of
the Alliance for Water Stewardship, we’re dedicated to increasing water use
efficiency across our own value chain, and helping people gain access to safe
water, which is a fundamental human right,” said Roberta Barbieri, PepsiCo’s
VP of Global Sustainability. “Water availability is fundamentally a local issue
and one that requires collaboration among residents, municipal leaders, industry
stewards and technical experts to sustainably manage. For those reasons, PepsiCo
will increase our participation in and support of local water conservation work,
with particular focus on high-water-risk geographies where action to protect
this precious natural resource is most urgent.”
PepsiCo is also working to conserve and protect fresh water as part of its
Positive Water Impact strategy. Through a partnership with The Nature
Conservancy (TNC), PepsiCo is working directly with farmers, landowners,
businesses, and communities throughout the United States, Latin America and
South Africa to implement efficient irrigation technology, protect upstream
forests, and establish Water Funds to replenish at-risk watersheds. In Latin
America, PepsiCo and TNC are supporting watershed conservation projects that
will enhance the supply and quality of water and improve the livelihoods of
those in surrounding areas. In 2018, the partnership replenished more than 76
million gallons of water to the watersheds in Guatemala City, São Paulo,
Santo Domingo, Bogotá, Mexico City and Monterrey through
conservation efforts across more than 990 acres.
Now, the bad news: Companies are reporting greater exposure to water risks yet
withdrawing more water, according to new CDP research released today.
The report, Treading
analyzes water data from 783 publicly listed companies, responsible for
employing over 36 million people worldwide and representing US$18 trillion in
The research highlights that the number of companies identifying water risks is
rising year on year, with 75 percent now reporting exposure to substantive water
risks, up from 70 percent in 2015**. The majority of risks reported are
physical (76 percent), relating to water scarcity and declining water
quality. Companies report that these risks could disrupt production, cause
brand damage and lead to the loss of their license to operate in certain
Despite this growing risk awareness, and the number of companies setting targets
to reduce water withdrawals doubling, there has been** an almost 50 percent rise**
in the number of companies reporting higher water withdrawals over that same
period (2015–2018). This is most pronounced for companies operating in Asia
and Latin America, as well as in the Food, Beverage and Agriculture;
Manufacturing; and Mineral Extraction sectors.
With industry accounting for 19 percent of global water
and a further 70 percent coming from agricultural supply chains, companies have
a massive role to play in meeting SDG 6 — Clean Water and
Sanitation. And with three in every
four jobs globally dependent on a stable supply of water, and companies
reporting US$38 billion in water-related financial losses in 2018, there is a
clear economic imperative to act.
However, despite the scale of the challenge, only 31 of all reporting companies
showed enough progress to make the top-ranking ‘Water Security A
in 2018. 11 of these companies are based in Europe, 10 in Asia and 8 in the US.
L’Oréal again tops the list, along with AstraZeneca, Diageo and Microsoft.
To achieve this position, companies must not only demonstrate that they
regularly assess their risk exposure, but also show they have implemented a
strategic response to these risks.
One area where many companies continue to underperform is when it comes to
incentivizing boards to better manage water issues. Despite 93 percent of
companies in the most at-risk industries — such as mining and electric
utilities — saying they have board-level oversight of water issues, just 31
percent have incentives in place for C-Suite executives.
Cate Lamb, Director of Water Security at CDP, commented: “The world is not
on track to meet our global water goal of ensuring access to sustainable water
and sanitation for all. The companies reporting to CDP are responsible for a
huge proportion of global water use and pollution. While many of their practices
and procedures currently contribute to the depletion of freshwater resources,
these companies could also hold the key to a water secure future. This
transition is full of possibility and opportunity - to succeed, those companies
that affect our water, must work to protect it.”
According to CDP, retail performs worst out of all the sectors analysed in the report. With only
28 companies disclosing out of the 117 requested, retail is the least
transparent of any sector, outstripping fossil fuels for the first time in nine
years. Retailers also perform badly on risk assessment and governance &
strategy, with just 36 percent of companies publishing a water policy and only
32 percent undertaking comprehensive assessments of the risks they may face.
With revenues anticipated to reach US$28 trillion this year, this sector is
more powerful than ever. Made up of companies near the top of the agricultural
value chain, the retail sector has the potential to drive substantial
improvements in water performance in meat manufacturers, crop growers and
dye houses around the world.
 Based on a sample of 296 consistent disclosers over four years
 High-impact companies are those in the following sectors: food, beverage
and tobacco, metals and mining, oil and gas, electric utilities and chemicals.
This sample covers 283 companies.
Published Mar 22, 2019 4pm EDT / 1pm PDT / 8pm GMT / 9pm CET