Climate change, increasing population, and industrialization are creating a global “water crisis,” putting at risk the socio-economic development, energy and food production, healthy ecosystems, and human survival itself.
Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about,” claims Andrew Steer, president, and CEO of WRI. The water crisis implies that sometimes water is just too little (severe droughts), too much (floodings), or excessively dirty (pollution and access to clean water).
Besides, water is essential for most companies´ agricultural supply chains, production of other raw materials and their own operations (factories, offices, warehouses…). The traditional approach to water has been to properly manage water in the sites by metering and reducing as much as possible consumption while avoiding to pollute and contaminate water. While this approach is still necessary, this will not be enough to solve problems in the communities we operate. The solution is to become a Water Steward.
Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about,”Andrew Steer, president, and CEO of WRI
The traditional approach to combat companies water risks has been to reduce corporate’s consumption while avoiding to pollute and contaminate water. While this approach is still necessary, this will not be enough to solve problems in the communities in which corporations operate.
Water Stewardship is about taking care of the water that we do not own. Good water stewards recognize the need for collective responses to the complex challenges facing the water resources we all rely on.
Since 2014, there is a standard that is gaining momentum that goes beyond water management that has the potential to become the new standard in the way we reduce water-related risks along our supply chains and operations. This standard is the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard (AWS https://a4ws.org/). and aims at understanding the situation of the watersheds where you operate and engage with communities and local stakeholders to drive social, environmental and economic benefits at the scale of a catchment.
Water Stewardship is about taking care of the water that we do not own
At PMI, we joined AWS in 2017 and since then we have learned that water issues are more complex than anticipated, but that engagement with stakeholders can help resolve problems that individually may have been viewed as insurmountable.
A successful pilot of the AWS standard was conducted in Brazil in 2018 and in 2019 our factory in Brazil has now the 2.0 AWS certification, meaning its conditions are continuously improving. Throughout 2019, we certified our factories in Italy, Portugal, Indonesia, Russia, and Turkey. Now we are already working in our next factories and our aim is to certify the first ten factories by 2020 and all of them by 2025.
This will ensure that we do not negatively impact local communities and help us reduce our environmental footprint allowing us to operate more sustainable.
Going from water manager to become a water steward is a long journey but as a Chinese proverb says a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For more information on PMI’s sustainability commitment and efforts visit: https://www.pmi.com/media-center/news/water-waste-why-businesses-can-do-more
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