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
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 $300B 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.”
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$1B 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 $139M 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.