Monday, August 13, 2007

Sustainable Business Council Launches Global Water Tool

Aug 13: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) will officially launch its Global Water Tool during World Water Week in Stockholm on August 15, 2007. The 2007 World Water Week conference sponsored by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is being held in Stockholm from August 12-18 and is expected to attract some 2500 top experts from 140 countries from August 12-18 [See related article below and WIMS 8/8/07].

The WBCSD Global Water Tool is free and easy-to-use for companies and organizations to map their water use and assess risks relative to their global operations and supply chains. Under the old business adage “what gets measured, gets managed”, the tool should help companies better manage their water use. Better local management leads to better global management. The Global Water Tool allows companies to quickly and accurately answer such key questions as: How many of our sites are in extremely water-scarce areas? Which sites are at greatest risk? How will that look in the future? How many of our employees live in countries that lack access to improved water and sanitation? How many of our suppliers are in water-scarce areas now? How many will be in 2025?

It does not provide specific guidance on local situations, which require more in-depth, systematic analysis. Through an easy to manage process, the tool allows companies to quickly and accurately: Compare their water use (including staff presence, industrial use, and supply chain) with validated water and sanitation availability information, both on a country and watershed basis; Calculate water consumption and efficiency; Establish relative water risks in their portfolio; Create key water Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) indicators, inventories, risk and performance metrics; and Enable effective communications between internal and external stakeholders on water issues.

The tool has two parts: the input sheet and the online map. The input sheet contains the company's site location and water use information. After entering the company's water use figures, the sheet automatically provides outputs, including GRI water indicators and downloadable metrics charts that demonstrate the company's data combined with both the country and watershed figures. The online mapping feature enables companies to plot their sites with external water datasets and download those locations in a map. The datasets provide several key metrics including renewable water resource per capita, mean annual relative water stress index and access to improved sanitation. The tool is connected with Google Earth, which provides spatial viewing of a company's site locations in relation to detailed geographic information, including surface water.

Access a release from WBCSD listing member companies that provided oversight and pilot testing (
click here). Access the Global Water Tool website for extensive information, downloading the tool, a demo, flyer and PowerPoint presentation (click here). [*Water]