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Water as the next net-zero environmental objective

  • Water as the next net-zero environmental objective

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Companies and governments are increasingly making net-zero pledges as concern over climate change continues to mount. Progress towards net-zero has focused on greenhouse gas emissions. World leaders are gathered this week in Glasgow at the UN Climate Change COP26 to discuss how to move towards net-zero emissions, also known as carbon neutrality, in the hope of tackling climate change.

But recently companies are making a new type of environmental pledge, promising to put more water back into the environment than they use, sometimes referred to as being “water positive”, reports CNBC.

Technology firms have made this kind of pledge, including Microsoft, Facebook and Google. Other sectors have as well, with companies like BP, Gap, IKEA and PepsiCo promising to replenish more what than they use in their operations. Companies can improve their water footprint and become water positive by reducing water usage with more efficient processes, as well as through water resource conservation efforts.

Some companies are targeting water use by their customers as they use their products, such as Procter & Gamble. “We touch five million people around the world every day through our brands, and 80% of P&G’s total footprint is basically in the use case,” said Verginie Helias, Chief Sustainability Officer: basically when people use water to shave, wash their hair, or do their laundry or dishes.

P&G is one of the founding members of the 50L Home Coalition which aims to help address water security and climate change by reducing domestic water consumption to 50 litres per person per day. Coordinated by the 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Economic Forum, the coalition is led by a pioneering group of private sector, public sector and civil society representatives.

IKEA joined the 50L Home coalition last August, noting that 15% of its total water footprint comes from the water than runs through the taps and showers they sell. “By offering water-saving products that are both attractive and affordable, we have a unique opportunity to inspire and engage with our customers to lower our shared water footprint,” said Lena Pripp-Kovac, Chief Sustainability Officer, Inter IKEA Group.

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