Access to water and sanitation is a fundamental human right; It is of vital importance in terms of public health, the elimination of poverty and hunger.
It is estimated that approximately 91% of the world's population (6.6 billion people) had access to clean water in 2015, compared to 82% in 2000.(i)
It is estimated that approximately 68% of the world's population has access to adequate sanitary conditions in 2015, and this ratio was previously stated to be 59%. Despite this, it is known that approximately 2.4 billion people do not have access to sanitary conditions and approximately 946 million people included in this group have to defecate in the open without access to any facilities.(ii)
“Water stress”, which means the ratio of total fresh water used by all major sectors to total renewable fresh water resources, affects more than 2 billion people.(iii) Increasing urbanization, growing world population, severe weather conditions, climate change, pollution and all other factors. combined, increasing the pressure on water resources.
Due to the seriousness of this problem, the UN General Assembly has declared a new Decade of International Action titled “Water for Sustainable Development” starting in March 2018.(iv)
What does this goal have to do with businesses?
Water is vital for heating and cooling and in many cases is an important operational input. Provision of water supply is a basic need not only for businesses but also for society and the environment at large.
What can businesses do?
It is important for businesses to recognize the value of water, use it responsibly, and minimize pollution of waterways. Companies need to conduct risk assessments regarding water use and implement strategies to ensure suppliers take a responsible approach to water use.
Below are the practices companies can do to make an impact:
Measure your business's water footprint and investigate the impact of water use on local people and the value chain;
Reduce water consumption and treat, recycle and reuse wastewater;
Minimize wastewater generation at facilities, treat it properly and avoid polluting water sources;
Promote regular hand washing and other hygienic habits among workers and local communities.
Consider water risks and set a value for water (eg natural capital accounting) and consider the economic value of water in decision making and internal/external reporting;
Look for ways to complement and facilitate access to water for communities near operations with limited access to water;
Adopt best water use practices in production processes and resort to innovative water storage technologies;
Reduce water consumption by adopting closed-loop systems or eliminating water use altogether;
CEO Water Mandate ve Water Action HubJoin collaborative action initiatives for water management and transparency, such as . These platforms bring together companies, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders on a range of critical water projects in specific river basins;
World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) calling on companies to increase access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene in the workplaceWASH commitment sign;
Established to strengthen its reach and encourage other companies, individuals and governments to disclose their environmental impacts, reduce their environmental footprints, and decouple energy use and growth (for example, by pricing environmental risks accurately within asset allocation and underwriting decisions) _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b -136bad5cf58d_Caring for ClimateContribute to the responsible investment activities of the initiative.
The Relationship Between the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and Goal 6
Human Rights and Labor Standards (UN Global Compact Principle 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
The right to access water and sanitation has been expressly recognized as a human right by the United Nations General Assembly. The provision of sufficient potable, accessible and affordable water and sanitation within the limits of privacy and human dignity is essential to the realization of many other human rights. Communities without access to water and sanitation are vulnerable to manipulation, exploitation and corruption.
Environment (UN Global Compact Principle 7, 8, 9)
Access to water and sanitary conditions should be provided by considering environmental conditions. Water is a limited resource that must be used responsibly and sparingly. Inadequately developed sanitary infrastructure (or lack of any infrastructure) poses serious threats to water resources and human health.
Anti-Corruption (UN Global Compact Principle 10)
Corruption affects location, productivity and cost, disrupting the provision of water and sanitation infrastructure, and often fosters injustice and inequality. At the same time, corrupt practices in other sectors cause pollution of water resources and increase in salinity.
(i) United Nations Economic and Social Council (2016); http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=E/2016/75&Lang=E
(iii) United Nations Sustainable Development Platform; https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg6
(iv) United Nations (2016), http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/71/222