Business Partnership for Sustainable Water Management Expanding to US

The Water Futures Partnership – created by SABMiller, World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and the German international development agency (GIZ) – wants to expand its operations to the US and other countries by partnering with additional businesses, NGOs and other organizations.

The Partnership was initiated in 2009 to demonstrate the business case for private sector engagement in sustainable management of water resources in cities and watersheds around the world.

The group just published its second report, detailing the progress made in identifying, assessing and beginning to address the challenges facing businesses, communities and the environment in watersheds in South Africa, Peru, Tanzania and Ukraine.

However, the partnership has decided it can be more effective and expand the regions in which it works by adding additional collaborators.

"Single actors cannot alone effectively mitigate the complex and often deeply-embedded causes of water risks. Our assessments show that the fundamental causes of many of our business-specific water risks are the same drivers of the water problems facing communities and ecosystems," says Andy Wales, SABMiller’s head of sustainable development.

"We recognize that these challenges can only be addressed through multi-stakeholder collective action and openly invite other NGOs, donors and public sector agencies, who have a shared interest in the areas in which we are working, to join our partnership," Wales adds.

The new report outlines the group’s plans to begin work in Colombia, Honduras, India and the USA with the help of new collaborators. It also provides details of the actions that have been taken in the initial four partner countries to address water risk.

Thus far, a water footprint assessment in South Africa  identified two priority risk areas that affect SABMiller’s brewery at Polokwane and surrounding communities.

In Tanzania, the shortfall between demands for water and available water resources are likely to have very serious effects not only on SABMiller’s operations but, more broadly, on the country’s prosperity, people’s health, and aquatic ecosystems. The partnership is developing plans to work with farmers to reduce their impact on water resources, as well as working with the Dar es Salaam Municipality to reduce water leakage from the city’s water and sewer network.

In Ukraine, a business risk assessment identified wastewater discharge from the brewery as a potential risk to the local SABMiller business in Donetsk city, both in terms of operations and reputation. Poor municipal sewage infrastructure means that sewer collapse and subsequent pollution of the Kalmius River is a significant risk.

Amongst other things, the Water Futures Partnership is applying for funding to overhaul the municipal sewer, as well as joining with other industries to protect the Kalmius River from further degradation.

"This partnership is an example of how to use risk assessment approaches to encourage action on improved water resource management. As far as I know, it is one of just a few examples where a business is using the results of risk assessments to justify allocation of resources in order to tackle the most pressing water issues at the river basin scale. We are now in a position to work with other stakeholders to implement real mitigation actions and influence policy," says Dave Tickner, head of freshwater at WWF-UK.

Read the report:

(Visited 4,896 times, 1 visits today)

Post Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *