You are here: Home » » Story

WWF urges for new global narrative on water stewardship

London : There is an alarming 81 per cent decline in freshwater species abundance since 1970s, millions of people are at risk from water scarcity and pollution and billions of dollars are being lost by investors and companies from water risks, the WWF's 2018 Water Stewardship Brief states.

The international conservation NGO recently released an “update” of its 2013 Water Stewardship Brief, which was both outlined as a vision of water stewardship and intended to be a roadmap for the future.

The 2013 brief was well received by governments, companies and investors, but since then the landscape has evolved, WWF says.

The update calls for urgent action on water. “We are now collectively in a critical period in which the world needs companies, who both impact and are dependent upon freshwater, to step up and help solve the challenges facing both people and the planet through water stewardship.”

The update points out that much about the water sector remains the same as in 2013. Water stewardship, as a concept, remains as critical as ever. But the update also indicates that the drivers of water stewardship have grown from corporate water risk and responsibility and been main-streamed into economic water risk, value and purpose.

The new report calls for “collective(ly) work to go beyond internal action and scale up collective action - especially through engagement with the financial sector (around both risk and opportunity).”

Companies already engaged in water stewardship are asked to help drive a new narrative in the water stewardship space - one that is focused around notions of value, opportunity, collaboration, context, innovation and resilience.

Specifically, there are opportunities for leading companies to:

- Ensure operations, peers and suppliers match risk to basin need

- Harness opportunities to mobilize climate resilience funds

- Build from basin context to meaningful response

- Unlock the Fourth Industrial Revolution(4IR)

- Broaden the narrative to engage the next wave with purpose

- Bridge the collective action chasm

In embracing a new narrative, the report calls for leaders to build capacity in the next wave (notably lagging peers and suppliers);

mobilize new forms of finance (including deploying new approaches to recognize the value of water); align collective action efforts and improve contextual performance (that leverages new technologies & data sources) as well as link formal and informal water governance.

Nine of the 10 worst global risks are linked to water

Water is one of the world’s gravest risks, according to the Global Risks Report published earlier this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos. And the situation is actually worse than it might seem at first glance.