EXECUTIVE SUMMARY from the guide:
“The world’s water resources are under growing pressure from rising water consumption, greater pollution, weak governance, and climate change—exposing companies to increased water-related risks.
In response, many companies are engaging in water stewardship and setting water targets to help address their waterrelated externalities and secure water for the growing needs of all users.
Site water targets informed by catchment context have an important role to play in addressing water challenges and driving informed actions at the local level. Yet a minority of companies are setting them.
This guide aims to help companies set effective site water targets that are informed by catchment context, which can create value and lessen risks for the company and support collective action. This guide is intended for site staff or technical water specialists responsible for water management, and relevant corporate staff. This guide lays out three key elements for setting effective site water targets:
- Water targets should respond to priority water challenges within the catchment
- The ambition of water targets should be informed by site’s contribution to water challenges and desired conditions
- Water targets should reduce water risk, capitalize on opportunities, and contribute to public sector priorities.
Each element can be incorporated through a series of actions that help create the desired outcome of effective site water targets.
The elements proposed herein were informed by research, pilot testing, and consultations with stakeholders from a wide range of sectors. They are meant to complement and expand on existing corporate water stewardship efforts and support corporate contributions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. While not prescriptive, the resulting guide can help sites establish directionally correct targets that focus on the right challenges, based on appropriate estimates.
Although stakeholder engagement is strongly encouraged when setting targets, this guide is non-binding. It does not require companies to publicly communicate, report or commit to water targets. In addition, because the action of one company alone is unlikely to enhance water security in a catchment, companies are encouraged to work with other water users to collectively set water targets that are based on a shared understanding of the catchment context and each user’s relative contributions.
Finally, setting water targets informed by the elements and actions proposed in this guide can help companies act as leaders and catalyze collective action.
At the same time, sites can become more resilient and adapt to water challenges emerging around the world!”
Sources: All texts, content, quotes and graphics by UN Global Compact. All credits and rights to UN Global Compact.