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The path to a common water management approach

The path to a common water management approach

Water management is ranging higher on corporate agendas, and companies and organizations are struggling to define the best way to measure, manage and report on water management efforts and results. The recently launched UN Global Compact Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines is a valued contribution.

The past years we have seen various water management assessment tools and reporting tools developed and best practices constantly evolving. The guidelines from the UN Global Compact, developed by the CEO Water Mandate in collaboration with CDP, Global Reporting Initiative, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and World Resources Institute, outlines an approach to water management disclosure that provides valued insights in this evolution.

Water management is necessary
As an independent party to many customers, DNV GL – Business Assurance is supporting organizations with water management verification and reporting and following the evolving landscape. Water management is a necessary and emerging trend globally. With current water practices we will only have enough water to satisfy 60 percent of demand in 2030. Industry and corporations are big spenders of water, and their reduction is crucial in securing sufficient water supplies in the future. It is already a pressing issue in many regions of the world.

Like other emerging issues, such as carbon arising in the 90’s, there is a need to find a common approach that is acknowledged by industries and stakeholders around the world. Companies need a common understanding and set of rules to be able to set targets and verify and explain to our own organization and stakeholders that the issue is properly handled, and that you are living up to targets and demands that support sustainable water management.

Steps towards water management harmonization
According to Global Compact, the guidelines “aim to harmonize reporting approaches, minimizing reporting burdens so companies spend less time on different reports and more time actively managing water”. The thorough guideline is important on the way to harmonization. It will serve as a valuable tool. However, I think there is still a long way until we find the common and generally accepted approach in a global market.

A unified approach
A unified, a valid measure of water management success is important to ensure proper actions to reduce water risk. As we learn and see more research on this complex issue, we will also find the best approach. As of now, it is uncertain exactly which way this tide will turn, but the Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines is a step on the way.

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