Water (Fresh and Marine)
This includes water governance and ensuring water quality and quantity in line with ecosystems needs, as well as ensuring access to water for the social, economic, recreational, and cultural needs of present and future generations.
This article from the Stockholm Resilience Centre can help bring you up to speed on the global status of freshwater change. It explains that the freshwater planetary boundary now exceeds safe limits, due to the inclusion of "green water" - the water available to plants - for the first time; it also unpacks this concept of green water.
Kate Raworth's “Doughnut” model is a key framework for understanding sustainability context. Building on the planetary boundaries framework as a 'ceiling', it adds social foundations as a 'floor' and underlines the need to operate in the space between. The social foundation is made up of 11 boundaries that draw attention to communities needing access to basic resources to fulfill their human needs. This access needs to be achieved in a way that does not place undue stress on the earth's resources. The framework is based on the premise that we should be striving to build and maintain social foundations while staying within planetary boundaries.
This comprehensive report from Ceres is a good resource for any change agent or business leader who wants to understand how industry practices are driving critical threats to global freshwater systems. It explains how industry at large is affecting freshwater resources and how, in turn, business is being impacted; the specific impacts on water from different business sectors; critical and emergent impacts and threats to global water systems; and strategies to mitigating them.
The Water Risk Filter uses 32 annually-updated, peer reviewed data layers alongside a risk questionnaire to help you explore, understand, prioritise, and respond to water risks at specific sites. It is designed to be easy to use by non-water experts, and is the only water risk tool to assess both basin and operational risks. The filter is also aligned with leading water stewardship frameworks, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Water Risk Filter also now applies TCFD-linked scenarios, which will help you to understand how water risks may evolve over time.
The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard standard will help you to understand your water use and impacts, and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable water management within a catchment context. The standard has five steps: 1) gather and understand, 2) commit and plan, 3) implement, 4) evaluate, and 5) communicate and disclose.The AWS also provides a certification process. In addition to the Standard, the AWS has produced comprehensive guidance to support persons responsible for implementing the Standard within their organization.
Putting Water Strategy into Context: A Practical Guide to Connect Corporate Strategic Objectives to Local Water Context
This guide from the WWF was created to help businesses begin the process of embedding science-based water targets into their operations and strategy. It details six shifts that corporations need to make in the development of their water strategies, and introduces a four-step approach to facilitate this change: 1) assess the foundational components that a water strategy needs to account for, such as risks, opportunities, and corporate monitoring and evaluation criterion; 2) prioritise the areas of strategic relevance relating to inherent and residual water-related risks and/or opportunities; 3) define the context and the related actions that will be focused upon; and 4) set goals and targets that are aligned with and informed by the context. This guide is an excellent resource for change agents, business leaders, and other corporate water experts who want to strengthen stewardship principles and activities within their organisation and advance corporate uptake and investment in water stewardship.
Contextual Water Targets: A Practical Guide to Setting Contextual Corporate- and Site-Level Water Targets
This guide from the WWF builds upon their Putting Water Strategy into Context report and introduces a five-step target-setting framework that can help you to draw on local water context to set contextual water targets at both a corporate- and site-level. The guide also provides a primer on other commonly used water–related targets types (non–contextual, contextual, and science–based) and explains how they relate and can complement one another.
The report from the OECD was created to support governments and stakeholders in addressing challenges and pressures from megatrends on water demand and supply through more effective governance and institutions. It features two tools to strengthen water policies: the OECD Water Governance Indicator Framework, which is a voluntary self-assessment tool, and 50+ practices that illustrate the OECD Principles on Water Governance. The self-assessment tool was created to support multi-stakeholder dialogue on the performance of water governance systems, and will be particularly beneficial to corporations. It takes a contextual, place-based approach that will help you to measure, assess, and take action on water-related goals.
Although the concept of “net positive water” may seem appealing as a simple, universal water metric, much in the way that "net zero carbon" appeals to sustainability professionals and advocates, the reality is that the framing and pursuit of "net positive water" can do more harm than good. This guidance note from the World Wildlife Fund unpacks the concept of net positive water; explains some of the benefits and drawbacks of "net positive" framing with respect to water; and provides recommendations for companies looking to measure consumption, make commitments, and set targets.
Investors lack contextual focus and common definitions in relation to mainstream ESG water data. In response, the WWF created this guide to provide a snapshot of the main limitations around water in current ESG approaches, such as those related to risk exposure and response, and to highlight recommendations for tackling these challenges so that you can better account for water in your ESG data and disclosure.
This guide from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) features a set of indicators that can help you to assess and advance the circularity of water at the facility level. It also includes a scenario-based Water Circularity Metric (WCM) tool to help users measure, set targets, and monitor progress on circular water management.
The world’s water resources are under growing pressure, and a growing number of companies are setting catchment-based water targets to help secure water for the growing needs of all users. If your company is looking to address its water impact from a contextual perspetive, this guide is an excellent starting point. The guide explains fundamental definitions; explains the elements most crucial for setting site water targets that reflect the catchment context; and includes a "stoplight" system for early, high-level assessment of water challenges. A separate set of case studies are also available.
Access tools and resources to help you calculate your organisation's water footprint from the Water Footprint Network. This may help you to identify potential sources of risk and discover where to prioritise your efforts.
Ceres’ Investor Water Toolkit is a comprehensive resource for evaluating and acting upon water risks in investment portfolios. Written for investors by investors, this guide includes links to knowledge resources, databases, analyses, case studies, and other tools that help quantify and mitigate water risks.
You can use this tool from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to better understand your organisation's most significant water-related risks, such as operations and suppliers in water scarce areas, total production generated from at-risk sites, and number of employees that lack access to improved water and sanitation.
You can use this tool to estimate the amount of revenue that could potentially be lost due to the impact of water scarcity on your organisation's operations. It is a free tool developed by ECOLAB and Trucost. It draws on global basin-level water data, and will help you determine water risk at a facility level.
Volumetric Water Benefit Accounting (VWBA): A Method For Implementing and Valuing Water Stewardship Activities
This working paper from WRI and partners introduces a new science-based approach for measuring the benefit of all types of water stewardship activities in a comparable way. Volumetric Benefit Accounting (VBA) aims to standardize an approach and a set of indicators that will help corporate water stewardship practitioners who face the challenge of finding robust, comparable, and practical ways to estimate the benefits of water stewardship activities. This guide provides a thorough explanation of the guiding criteria and methodology, as well as illustrative case studies that apply the accounting framework.
The International Council of Mining & Metals (ICMM) has created a comprehensive guide to help leaders and change agents within the extractives industry (from the strategic level down to the site level) to identify, evaluate, and respond to catchment-based water-related risks. A collection of tools is also available to help you review and build your awareness of catchment-related strategy; to understand your boundaries and the concept of water issues in the catchment so that you can better perform assessments; and to understand and develop response plans and strategy. These tools have also been divided into three corresponding sections.
Developed by the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER), this guide will help you to hasten internal conversations with regards to investments in advancing context-based water stewardship. The guide will also help you to understand when (and why) an organization should consider moving beyond water reduction and towards water reuse and recycling.
Water risk factors are already stranding assets throughout the coal, electric utilities, metals & mining, and oil & gas sectors, and are growing as a strategic concern in other industries. Consequently, the financial sector is facing growing exposure to such water-related risks and their potential knock-on events. The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment created this guide to help you better understand the issue and impacts of water scarcity on business activities and investments. It explain the drivers of water scarcity; highlights case studies across resource majors and examines their preparedness for water-stranding event; and makes recommendations for action for financiers who may be affected.
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