Why business leaders should sign up to the CEO Water Mandate

What is the CEO water mandate?

The CEO Water Mandate calls on business leaders globally to take action on water stewardship.

The endorsing companies recognize that much more can be done to reduce water risks to businesses, seize water-related opportunities, and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. Doing so places a value on shared water resources; sustainability of water usage is interwoven into business strategy. The CEO Water Mandate works to “address challenges related to water scarcity, water quality, water governance, and access to water and sanitation”.

What benefit does signing up to the CEO water mandate bring to businesses?

The private sector recognizes that there is a need to understand the risks posed by climate change, and plan for future uncertainties. The Business Alliance for Water and Climate calls for collaboration between companies to :

  • Share and analyse water-related risks in order to develop response strategies.
  • Measure and report water use data
  • Reduce impacts on water supplies in operations and throughout the value chain.

In addition to collaborating with others to better understand the water-related risks to your business (a benefit that is in itself a reason to join such a movement), the CEO water mandate also allows you to:

  • Strengthen your brand by reaffirming your commitment to sustainable business practices
  • Optimize your supply chain and operations, by identifying where these areas may be exposed to water-related risks
  • Build relationships with key partners who share your values
  • Access the experience and expertise of other like-minded organisations
  • Increase your ability to affect public policy, as a thought leader in your field, and as part of a partnership of leading organisations
  • Engage with your customers and community through working groups, collective action, and meaningful corporate and social responsibility strategies.

Many businesses have risen to the challenge of reviewing and improving their water usage to create a more sustainable relationship with local waterways. The Business for Water platform has been working with corporations to do just this for the last 20 years, using verifiable metrics.

Business water risks infographic:

Water-risk infographic

Who has signed up to it so far?

The current list of endorsing companies is expected to grow as more and more businesses come to understand the importance of water stewardship to their future success.

The Innovation diffusion model tells us that behavioral change broadly follows 5 phases – the innovators are the first to embrace new concepts or products, followed by the early adopters, early majority, late majority, then the laggards.

The names of the innovators and early adopters who signed up in the early days of the CEO Water Mandate are hardly a surprise – many are known for progressive workplace policies, work done to create sustainable supply chains, or authentic and high profile corporate and social responsibility activities.

In more recent times, we’ve seen personal products company Colgate Palmolive, Japanese food products maker Kikkoman, the Ford motor company, and educational research institutions such as the International Water Centre also endorse the mandate.

They are diverse in the products and services they offer, yet the one thing these organisations have in common is that they are leaders in their respective industries – Because water stewardship is for everyone.

Don’t be a laggard. Read this article to see if your business may be at risk, and consider signing up to the CEO Water Mandate if your organisation has not already done so. Take action and follow the business alliance for water and climate, or join a working group to develop tools and resources that will help your business tackle water-related challenges and needs.

Finally the words of the highly successful CEO of Pernod Ricard, Alexandre Ricard states: We are a business, first of all. In today’s world, every single business has a duty of giving back to society.

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I'm a water engineer with a keen interest in urban water issues, including water security, creating liveable cities, and developing easily adoptable sustainable practices for businesses and the community. I'd love to hear your thoughts on anything and everything.

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