A New Sustainability Standard for Water Use? (July 2011)

Jul 2011

By Dylan Tanner, Ekobai CEO

The Alliance for Water Stewardship is a multi-stakeholder organization whose stated mission is to “work with water authorities, companies, local communities and environmentalists to establish a voluntary certification program for water managers and users...”  The initiative was formed in June 2010 and involved the formation of the Water Roundtable, a stakeholder group made up of large multinationals (Dow, Coca Cola, Rio Tinto etc.), conservation groups (Nature Conservancy, Water Aid) and local government representatives from around the world.  The structure and evolution of  the Alliance appears to be similar to that of the Forest Stewardship Council the Marine Stewardship Council  and more recently the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil  all of which led to international standards which have been adopted by industry.  A glance at the corporates involved in the Alliance for Water Stewardship clearly indicates companies who are either large users of fresh water such as Coca Cola and Veolia Water of France, and large emitters of wastewater such as Rio Tinto and Dow.

The initiative states several agenda goals and has a further key meeting in July 2011 in Sri Lanka following which the proposed international water use standard will be refined further.

(1) Present the case for water, the Alliance for Water Stewardship and the importance of a Water Roundtable process;

(2) Refine the proposed benefits and model for international water stewardship standard(s) development;

(3) Build understanding and alignment on key global water-use impacts;

(4) Explain the proposed roadmap for creating multi-stakeholder standard(s); and

(5) Describe engagement opportunities and invite participation in the Water Roundtable and Regional Initiatives.

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