Representatives from environmental organizations, policy and businesses gathered at Finland’s Permanent Representation to the European Union on 3 July 2014 to attend the event Water Stewardship: Local Actions Driving Global Impacts. Water stewardship is increasingly championed by companies seeking an in depth understanding of water use throughout their value chain.
Organized by Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) and European Water Partnership (EWP), lead entity of the regional partner European Water Stewardship (EWS), the event showcased real world stories from companies on their journey towards water stewardship.
Representatives from diverse sectors; such as European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), water service provider Thames Water Commercial Services Limited, local mineral water bottler Chaudfontaine and global paper retailer, Stora Enso, shared their experiences developing a course of action to confront water-related risks in their operations.
A panel of leading organizations including BASF SE, Control Union Certifications WWF-UK, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBSCD) and CDP highlighted the role of water stewardship in the sustainable management of global water resources. Panellists agreed that order to confidently manage their risks, companies need to look within the river basin of their operations and tailor corporate actions and goals to the local setting of water use.
The panel also highlighted the crucial role of government actors in setting the ground for Water Stewardship. Nicola Notaro from DG Environment of the European Commission commented on the important role of businesses, as key water users, in securing water resources for the future, with Water Stewardship clearly complementary to EU water objectives.
In his closing statement, moderator Raymond van Ermen from European Partners for the Environment (EPE), stressed the viability of Water Stewardship as a new Business Model for companies to address their water related risks while providing them with the “license to operate”. The event proved a success in bringing actors together for an open and honest interaction on the topic of sustainable water resource management.
Text: European Water Partnership (EWP)