Thursday, March 27, 2014

Responsible Corporate Water Leadership: Beer and Jeans

Responsible water stewardship is an important and growing concern for businesses around the world. A proactive corporate position on water management is both good business and critical for the well-being of communities. The challenges associated with water have encouraged some corporations to explore innovative solutions. Here are some of the benefits associated with responsible corporate water stewardship as well as two disparate examples of corporate water leadership.

The benefits of responsible corporate water stewardship include:
  • Ensuring social and legal license to operate in a specific location
  • Preventing or react to operational crises resulting from inadequate water availability or management
  • Gaining competitive advantage
  • Assuring investors and markets that business operations will continue to be profitable
  • Upholding corporate values and ethics

The well known beer maker Anheuser-Busch has achieved the goal of lowering its water usage alongside other sustainability goals like lowering their energy requirements. Recently they committed to seven global environmental goals including three that involve water. By the end of 2017 the company aims to Reduce water risks and improve water management in 100 percent of its key barley growing regions in partnership with local stakeholders. Engage in watershed protection measures at 100 percent of its facilities located in key areas in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Mexico, Peru and the US. Reduce global water usage to 3.2 hectoliters of water per hectoliter of production.


Levi's continues to reduce the amount of water used in its jeans. Since 2011 Levi's has consistently decreased the amount of water it uses to the the point where its Water Less jeans collection has decreased water usage in the finishing process by up to 96 percent (a regular pair of jeans uses up to 42 liters of water in the finishing process). Since its inception this has saved over 770 million liters of water. According to Levi's that is equivalent to the drinking water used in New York City for an entire month or 308 Olympic sized swimming pools. In the spring of 2014 alone Levi's will save 71 million liters of water in the process of making 9 million units of Water Less jeans. Levi's is also working on a process that will use only recycled water in parts of its production process.

The 2014 World Water Development Report (fifth edition): Water and Energy
Recycling or Reclaiming Water: A Sustainable Solution for Industry
World Water Day 2014 Advocacy Guide
Water Stewardship Steps: Developing a Water Strategy
Solutions to Diminishing Ground Water
Reducing Water Use in the United States
110 Water Conservation Tips for Businesses and Homes
Water Efficiency: Stopping the Flow from Leaky Pipes
The Carbon Trust's Water Standard
WBCSD Report: Building the Business case for Water Valuation
Synergistic Solutions to the Water and Energy Nexus World Water Day 2014: Water and Energy

No comments: