The private sector – from small and medium enterprises to large businesses – is an essential partner in the sustainable governance and management of water. As Howard Bamsey, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, observed at the Stockholm World Water Week in 2017: ”The private sector will simply not invest until the water governance is right, from policy development to law and regulation, down to local governance arrangements”.
Beyond offering an important voice in support of better water governance, the private sector brings unique perspectives in terms of innovative water technologies and processes. It influences and connects key water-using sectors - upstream suppliers and downstream customers. Corporate water strategies, designed to identify and manage the multiple dimensions of water-related risk (physical, regulatory, and reputational) are increasingly expanding their scope beyond direct company operations to include the entire relevant watershed.
Synergizing Corporate Water Stewardship (CWS) and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is timely and appropriate for at least three reasons:
- Both CWS and IWRM are grounded in mitigating water risks and are underpinned by multi-stakeholder engagement
- SDG 6.5 calls for IWRM implementation at all levels by 2030. While many governments have made progress in IWRM to advance water security, this has largely been achieved without structured, sustained public-private participation
- CWS has seen significant growth, but many initiatives lack the scale and scope to fully mitigate business risks at watershed level
“As corporate water strategies mature from minimizing impact within companies’ direct operations, to contributing to the sustainability of watersheds where they operate, GWP’s network can provide a neutral and safe space for engaging diverse water-using sectors and constituencies,” said Nicolas Delaunay, Partnership and Resource Mobilization Manager at GWP. “By bringing these voices to the table, GWP facilitates a more integrated view of water policy and governance issues, which gives a clearer line of sight to solutions and progress made (or not made) towards water security."
Read about GWP’s experiences with the private sector:
- A 10-year partnership with Coca-Cola, developing non-conventional water management projects to combat water scarcity in the driest parts of the Mediterranean
- Rainwater harvesting installation, maintenance, and capacity building in rural, water scarce communities in Central America and the Caribbean, together with Mexichem and IDB
- Multi-stakeholder dialogues in the Middle East to unlock private sector investment in water-related infrastructure under the Union for the Mediterranean’s Governance & Financing for the Mediterranean Water Sector project