08. December 2023 ǀ In an unprecedented move towards global water security, the Water Resilience Coalition (WRC) has announced significant progress in its 2030 strategy, leveraging the power of the private sector to build resilience in water-stressed basins worldwide.
Progress of the Water Resilience Coalition
The Water Resilience Coalition (WRC), an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative that aims to put water stress at the top of corporate agendas, today announced new progress on its 2030 strategy to convene the private sector to build global water resilience. With today’s announcement, there are 21 collective action projects now underway to build water resilience in 15 water-stressed river basins across Asia, Africa, South America, and North America. Since the Coalition’s launch in 2020, 35 global companies across multiple sectors with a combined market cap of US$4.8 trillion and operations in more than 140 countries have joined the effort.
The WRC’s 2030 Ambition and the Forward Faster Initiative
The WRC’s 2030 ambition—for businesses to build water resilience in operations, supply chains, and 100 water-stressed basins—was launched Monday as the water resilience target of the UN Global Compact’s Forward Faster initiative. Launched at the Private Sector Forum during UN General Assembly week, the Forward Faster initiative aims to speed private sector actions in five areas – gender equality, climate action, living wage, water resilience, and finance & investment – for the biggest, fastest impacts across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 6 for water and sanitation. The same private sector water resilience target was earlier launched during the March 2023 UN Water Conference as the “Business Leaders’ Open Call for Water Action.”
The Coalition’s Strategy and Future Goals
The Coalition, which aims to recruit 150 of the world’s most influential companies by 2030 with the potential to influence one-third of the world’s water withdrawals, is an initiative of the CEO Water Mandate, a partnership between the United Nations Global Compact and the Pacific Institute. Member companies are actively engaged in building positive water impact in their own operations and supply chains, as well as joining with other companies, NGOs, and public sector actors to build water resilience in water-stressed basins through collective action. By 2030, the strategy aims to build water resilience in 100 Priority Basins identified on the Water Action Hub, contributing to water security for three billion people and enabling equitable access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for more than 300 million people.
Basin Champions and Collective Action
Many of the collective action projects underway in the first 15 of the 100 Priority Basins are being led by Basin Champions, companies that have shown early leadership to drive positive water impact. The Coalition’s first Basin Champion, Ecolab, is driving action in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin in the United States to contribute to closing California’s 2040 water supply gap. As a Basin Champion, the company is working to advance public-private partnerships that will help shore up water access in California. The collective efforts aim to deliver a critical portion of the private sector water savings needed to achieve targets set out in Governor Gavin Newsom’s announced California Water Supply Strategy. Additional projects will be announced later this month.
Water Resilience Coalition’s Progress and Future Plans
Since announcing its 2030 strategy in mid-2022, the Water Resilience Coalition has also launched the innovative Water Resilience Coalition Investment Portfolio, advanced the digitization of water basin monitoring through a partnership with the European Space Agency, and piloted the Net Positive Water Impact framework for water resilience. Twice each year, the Water Resilience Coalition convenes its CEO Circle, a small group of visionary CEOs from member companies, to discuss progress, foster collaboration, and chart a path to reach 2030 ambitions. The CEO Circle will meet today during the United Nations General Assembly in New York and again in January during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. Tomorrow, on September 20, the CEO Water Mandate and Water Resilience Coalition will also hold a UN General Assembly week off-site event to further build momentum. To join the Business Leaders’ Open Call for Water Action and Forward Faster initiatives, and to learn more about how businesses can join in collective action, visit ceowatermandate.org/resilience/.