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White Paper Shows U.S. Private Sector's Capability in Advancing SDG 6

  • White Paper Shows U.S. Private Sector's Capability in Advancing SDG 6

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United Nations Global Compact
The world's largestcorporate sustainability initiative. A call to companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.

In the face of rapidly depleting freshwater supplies across U.S. water basins, the private sector can be a pivotal force capable of steering positive change within communities. This opportunity is highlighted in the white paper "From Ripples to Waves: The Value of Corporate Water Stewardship," which was unveiled yesterday at the GreenBiz 24 conference in Arizona. The UN Global Compact Network USA (Network USA) produced the report, with contributions from the CEO Water Mandate and the sustainability nonprofit Ceres.

"From Ripples to Waves: The Value of Corporate Water Stewardship" discusses the value of water and serves as a call to action for businesses to address water challenges proactively. Delving into the practices of six companies across various sizes and sectors – including PepsiCo, Microsoft, Gotham Greens, Cargill, S&P Global, and Xylem – the white paper provides tangible examples of effective water stewardship.

The companies' case studies showcase how they integrate water risk as a core consideration, establishing a compelling business and environmental case for actions involving diverse stakeholders and driving positive water impacts. Through these examples, the report highlights how the private sector can make a demonstrable contribution to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Clean Water and Sanitation for all.

The private sector can be a pivotal force capable of steering positive change within communities.

"Businesses nationwide are tackling the water crisis with a blend of innovation and ambition. 'From Ripples to Waves: The Value of Corporate Water Stewardship' highlights these best practices, and we hope that companies reading it will find inspiration as they navigate water challenges within their strategies and operations," said Adam Roy Gordon, Executive Director of UN Global Compact Network USA. 

"In the face of depleting freshwater supplies, this white paper unveils the transformative role the private sector can play in creating positive impact," said Jason Morrison, President of the Pacific Institute & Head of UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate. "The tangible examples and compelling cases it presents can serve as inspiration for businesses to adopt water stewardship in their operations."

"No industry can survive without water. Businesses must assume a leading role in tackling water risks affecting their operations and supply chains and impacting global water resources and economic security," said Kirsten James, Senior Program Director of Water of Ceres. "We hope by elevating the best practices of water stewardship we will inspire more companies to strengthen their own strategies, leverage innovation, and work with stakeholders to raise ambition and accelerate action on our shared water challenges."

The urgency of the matter is underscored by sobering statistics in the U.S., where 2.2 million Americans lack access to running water, and 9 million to 45 million are served by drinking water systems with health-based quality violations. Over the next decade, compounding factors such as groundwater depletion, infrastructure challenges, and climate change are expected to intensify pressure on already strained water systems.

Businesses are increasingly recognizing the gravity of this issue. A recent UN Global Compact study of companies worldwide revealed that nearly 45 percent identified water insecurity as a business risk, estimating a financial exposure exceeding $425 billion. This figure is anticipated to rise significantly as the water crisis worsens.

"From Ripples to Waves: The Value of Corporate Water Stewardship" can be downloaded here.

Network USA would like to thank S&P Global and Xylem for their patronage and support for the report.

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