Through Business Leaders’ Open Call to Accelerate Water Action, companies commit to build water resilience across operations and supply chains, accelerate collective positive water impact in at least 100 water-stressed basins by 2030
New York, U.S.A., March 22, 2023 – During the opening day of the UN 2023 Water Conference, over 50 of the world’s largest corporations, operating in over 130 countries and employing 2 million people worldwide, launched the Business Leaders’ Open Call for Accelerating Water Action. The Open Call for Water Action is an unprecedented appeal for private sector action to help solve the global water crisis and advance progress on SDG 6 to ensure access to water and sanitation for all. The Open Call provides a unified commitment by the corporate sector to the Water Action Agenda, the main outcome of the historic UN Water Conference.
By joining the Open Call for Water Action, companies commit to work to build water resilience across their own global operations and supply chains. They also pledge to work collaboratively across sectors to achieve collective positive water impact in at least 100 prioritized water-stressed basins by 2030. The strategy aims to contribute to water security for 3 billion people, and help enable safe drinking water and sanitation for more than 300 million people.
“We need concerted, collective action to ensure that there will be enough water for everyone in the very near future,” said Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director and CEO of the United Nations Global Compact. “Companies are the world’s largest water users and have a vested interest in ensuring that water resources are managed responsibly, fairly and sustainably. We hope this Open Call will mobilize the action we need to ensure the private sector becomes a good custodian of water resources.”
Water insecurity is one of the most pressing sustainability challenges of the 21st century, presenting humanitarian, environmental, and economic concerns. More than 2 billion people lack safe drinking water; a 40 percent water deficit is projected by 2030; and water-protecting ecosystems have experienced rapid destruction. Climate change continues to significantly intensify these risks, adding further urgency to act. CDP estimates that some $300 billion of business value is at risk due to water scarcity, pollution, and climate change.
“The Open Call is mobilizing the corporate sector on water in a pivotal new way–through radical collaboration,” said Jason Morrison, President of the Pacific Institute and Head of the CEO Water Mandate. “By bringing together leading companies to act inwardly in their own operations and supply chains and outwardly by joining hands in collective action in basins around the world, the Open Call can catalyze more water action than companies can achieve on their own.”
“The UN estimates that Nigeria loses about 1.3 trillion Naira (equivalent to $3.5 billion) annually due to poor access to water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities, which leads to increased healthcare costs and lost productivity,” said Naomi Nwokolo, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network Nigeria. “To address water scarcity, companies have got to prioritise water efficiency measures and invest in innovative water management technologies. We implore Nigerian businesses to recognise the value of water stewardship and to take immediate action to conserve water resources while ensuring equitable access to water for all.”
Companies today announcing their commitment to the Business Leaders’ Open Call to Accelerate Action on Water include: AB InBev, ADM, ANDESS, AQUADAT, Arca Continental, AstraZeneca, Banka BioLoo Limited, Bayer, BIOAZUL SL, Braskem, Cargill, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Colgate-Palmolive, Cristalina Saneamento, Crown Holdings, Inc., Cummins Inc., Danone, Diageo, DOW, DP World, DuPont, Ecolab, Elevate Textiles, Inc., ENGIE, FLSmidth, Gap Inc., Givaudan, GSK, HCL Technologies Limited, HEINEKEN N.V., Inditex, S.A., Inter IKEA Group, Johnson Matthey, Kelani Valley Plantations PLC, Kemira Oyj, KLT Filtration Ltd., Mahindra Group, MGM Resorts International, Microsoft, Nazava Water Filters, Netafim, Orbia, Penta Falcon, PJSC PhosAgro, Recogida General De Residuos y Aguas S.L, Reckitt, Solenis LLC, Starbucks, The Coca-Cola Company, The Crescent Textile Mills Limited, Veolia, VIATRIS, and Xylem.
“Water is critical to business and life—and yet two billion people around the world are currently living in water-stressed areas,” said Christophe Beck, Chairman and CEO of Ecolab. “Businesses must accelerate action to help address the global water crisis. We have all the solutions we need to produce business growth and protect human lives. I call on my peers in the private sector to join us in this ambitious movement to build a water-resilient future.”
Dolf van den Brink, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Board at Heineken N.V., said: “Our water strategy focuses on water efficiency, circularity and watershed health protection, especially in water-stressed areas. Over the last decade, we have learned that collective action is a critical enabler to create more systemic change, as we have seen in Indonesia and Mexico where we operate. The Open Call will empower organisations to mobilise behind common water basins to drive collective action at scale and create a water resilient future for all.”
The Open Call for Water Action is led by the CEO Water Mandate, a partnership between the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute to advance corporate water stewardship around the world. It is also championed by the Water Resilience Coalition, a CEO-led initiative of the CEO Water Mandate that aims to elevate water action to the top of corporate agendas. The Open Call is also supported by the International Chamber of Commerce, Ceres, the Alliance for Water Stewardship, and AquaFed.
The Open Call is part of the broader 2030 strategy of the Water Resilience Coalition. The Water Resilience Coalition Investment Portfolio, launched on 16 March 2023, is an example of one initiative companies can participate in as part of the Open Call. This innovative investment platform has identified an investment pipeline of at least US$1 billion in capital market investment instruments to accelerate action on water resilience and SDG 6.
Five member companies of the Water Resilience Coalition and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) last week announced $139 million of investments in the Portfolio’s first fund. The fund will focus on supporting water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) initiatives to impact 5 million people in 8 countries.
The Open Call for Water Action is available at wateractionnow.org.
Notes to Editors
About the CEO Water Mandate
The CEO Water Mandate is a partnership between the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute that mobilizes business leaders on water, sanitation, and the Sustainable Development Goals for corporate water stewardship. Mandate endorsers commit to continuous progress against six core elements (direct operations, supply chain and watershed management, collective action, public policy, community engagement and transparency) and in so doing understand and manage their own water risks. For more information, follow @H2O_stewards on Twitter or visit ceowatermandate.org.
About the United Nations Global Compact
As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 17,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 69 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world. For more information, visit our website at unglobalcompact.org.
About The UN Global Compact Network Nigeria
The UN Global Compact Network Nigeria is one of the 74 Local Networks (country office) of the United Nations Global Compact.
About the Pacific Institute
Founded in 1987, the Pacific Institute is a global water think tank that combines science-based thought leadership with active outreach to influence local, national, and international efforts in developing sustainable water policies. From working with Fortune 500 companies to disenfranchised communities, our mission is to create and advance solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges. Since 2009, the Pacific Institute has also acted as co-secretariat for the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, a global commitment platform that mobilizes a critical mass of business leaders to address global water challenges through corporate water stewardship. For more information, follow @PacificInstitut on Twitter, and visit pacinst.org.
About the Water Resilience Coalition
The Water Resilience Coalition is an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative of the United Nations Global Compact CEO Water Mandate that aims to elevate the long-term mounting crisis of global water stress to the top of the corporate agenda and to preserve the world’s freshwater resources through collective action in water-stressed basins and ambitious, quantifiable commitments. For more information, visit ceowatermandate.org/resilience.
For inquiries please contact:
UN Global Compact
CEO Water Mandate / Water Resilience Coalition
Ilsa Ruiz Hughes
UN Global Compact Network Nigeria