Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Businesses Make Water Stewardship Pledges at a White House Summit

Water is essential to sustain life and it is also crucial to many business including some of the staples of our economy (eg: food, clothing, cars and mobile phones). At a White House Summit on World Water Day several businesses made ambitious pledges related to water conservation strategies and technological investments.  Together these water related private sector efforts will amount to more than $1 billion over the next ten years.

At the Summit the White House recognized sustainability advocacy organization Ceres’ water initiatives including Connect the Drops and their Water Climate Bonds Initiative. These bonds are designed to help foster investment in resilient and sustainable water infrastructure. Ceres Water bonds are part of a collaborative effort that includes the Climate Bonds Initiative, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, CDP, and the World Resources Institute. The Bonds offer investors verifiable, science-based criteria for evaluating bonds earmarked for financing sustainable water infrastructure projects.

Ceres was also honored for its Connect the Drops initiative, in which California companies agree to 1) make and implement business commitments to support California’s action plan for water conservation, and 2) engage with policymakers, employees, customers and their peers on improving water management and enhancing water efficiency in the state. Five new members also signed onto the Connect the Drops initiative including Anheuser-Busch InBev which has reduced its water usage rate by 23 percent from 2009 through 2015, resulting in water savings of over 2.5 billion gallons (the four other signatories are Annie’s, EILEEN FISHER, Kellogg Company, and Xylem). Together these members will save one billion gallons of water by 2020.

Pledges also came from existing Connect the Drop signatories including General Mills, Genentech and Levis Strauss & Co. (see below)

Here are some of the other corporate actions announced at the Summit:

General Electric has committed $500 million for advanced water, wastewater and reuse technologies. 

General Mills pledged to champion development of water stewardship plans in the most material, high-risk watersheds in its global supply chains by 2025 that includes corporate collaboration efforts, development of foundational tools, and science-based policy advocacy in these watersheds.

Genentech announced a project that could save 60 million gallons of water per year by 2020 by treating manufacturing process wastewater in San Francisco.

Levis Strauss & Co., who has saved more than a billion liters of water since 2011 is sharing its Water

Xylem a water technology company will invest at least $300 million in water-focused research and development activities through 2018 including a new national water-innovation challenge in collaboration with the US Water Partnership. 

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