When most people think of water issues, the first thing that comes to mind is falling reservoirs and water rationing at the tap. While this is a very significant impact, our business sustainability consulting is reminded that water stretches much further and deep in to the heart of business. The reality is that water is linked to every facet of life on our planet and directly interacts with a myriad of business sustainability concepts. Today, governments, businesses, and individuals around the world are recognizing the relationships of water to long term sustainability and companies are now incorporating water management into their long-term business sustainability plans.
In a recent report, Water Resources at the Corporate Level, professional consulting firm Ernst and Young examines the business sustainability water global drought and local water scarcities. Recognizing that companies can no longer simple prepare for impacts that are now right upon their door steps, EY provides guidance on moving from a risk-based approach to active management. Some of the key steps in this process include:
- Develop a corporate water policy
- Understand the current state of water risks at the watershed level
- Understand their business’s water footprint, both locally and across the value chain
- Engage internally at the facility or corporate level and externally with local stakeholders to evaluate the risks and impact
- Report externally and seek independent assurance.
As business sustainability consultants, we explore the full stream of sustainability. Water management, like all sustainability concepts, is a continuous and all-inclusive process. While each concept requires it own unique and often personalized business strategy, the critical steps and lessons learned from water management planning can apply to other issues.