5 August 2007, Stockholm. In response to the challenges large companies face in assessing potential risks associated with water use, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has developed the Global Water Tool.
A free online service developed to help companies calculate their water consumption and efficiency, the Global Water Tool has incorporated reporting indicators developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The Tools launch today corresponds with World Water Week, hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in Sweden.
The Tools development was led by engineering company CH2M HILL, whose Chairman and Chief Executive Officer believes that The WBSCSD Global Water Tool is an example of the way business must innovate in the future to proactively identify and address risks to protect our shareholders, employees, communities, and the environment.” Fuelling the impetus for the development of the Global Water Tool is the acknowledgement on the
part of large companies that they find it challenging to establish the availability of adequate water and sanitation access in the local areas where their production sites are located. Large companies generally depend heavily on water and are at risk as water availability changes in the next several years. The Global Water Tool is meant to help companies minimize certain water risks and impacts in their operations and supply chains by helping to simplify the data gathering and analysis process involved in assessing potential risk for water shortages and draughts that disrupt their business activities.
The Global Water Tools integration of GRIs reporting indicators for water reflects the growing recognition of these as the globally accepted de facto standard in sustainability reporting metrics, and shows how they can be applied to help resolve complex sustainability management issues. Consisting of an input sheet and an online map, the Global Water Tool allows companies to quickly and accurately gather data on key GRI water indicators. The Tool is linked to Google Earth and includes datasets from, among others, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, and UNICEF. The Tools development is meant
to enable effective communications between internal and external stakeholders on water issues and supports the GRI vision that reporting on critical issues such as water management has a role in improving companies overall internal management processes as well as external
The Global Water Tool was launched today at Stockholms World Water Week, a global meeting place for experts from businesses, governments, science and NGOs. During the session Mapping Water in Business GRIs Technical Director Sean Gilbert spoke about measuring values of restoring and maintaining environmental flows.
Gilbert addressed strategies to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on water where the aim is to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015. Gilbert also made reference to the three-dimensional role companies have to play in helping to provide the 1.2 billion people that do not have regular access to drinking water.
The development of this Tool signals not only that the world is coming to the conclusion that companies need to use their resources better but also that GRI metrics on water provide companies with an effective management tool that can be used for the optimization of both the global water management crisis and companies own internal management of this essential resource commented Gilbert.
1. About GRI
The Global Reporting Initiatives (GRI) vision is that reporting on economic, environmental, and social performance by all organizations becomes as routine and comparable as financial reporting. GRI accomplishes this vision by developing, continually improving, and
building capacity around the use of its Sustainability Reporting Framework. An international network of thousands from business, civil society, labor, and professional institutions create the content of the Reporting Framework in a consensus-seeking process. The GRIs Reporting Framework is largely seen as the global de facto standard in sustainability reporting.
2. About WBCSD
The World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a Geneva-based association of over 200 international companies representing 30 countries and 20 industrial sectors. Oversight and pilot testing of this new Tool was provided by GRI and WBCSD Member Companies
such as Alcan, Alcoa, Shell, Dow, Dupont, Rio Tinto, Lafarge, Holcim, Pepsico and Suez.
Anna Pouls, Public Relations Coordinator
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +31 (0)20 531 0034