WWF, GIZ and SABMiller restate on World Water Day: cooperation is key

By Stuart Orr, Freshwater Manager, WWF; Franz-Josef Batz, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH; and Andy Wales, SVP of Sustainable Development, SABMiller

The theme of this year's world water day is ‘cooperation'. At first glance, cooperation might appear a somewhat passive sentiment; but, in the context of the global water challenge, meaningful change and progress will only happen through cooperation, collaboration and partnerships.

We talk about water being a shared resource, shared risk and a shared responsibility. This notion of shared risk is a critical element underpinning responses to the global water crisis. The UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate and the World Economic Forum have helped to catalyse debate while organisations such as the Water Footprint Network (WFN) and the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) have been established to assess the scale of the problems and set standards around water use.

International initiatives have played an important role in establishing a momentum to encourage better understanding of water risks. However, there is still a lack of initiatives which seek to understand the issues at a local level and to put in place effective plans to address them.

Over recent years, SABMiller, WWF and others have worked together to try and fill this gap. SABMiller and WWF have been working together since 2008, when WWF helped SABMiller map the first ever value chain Water Footprint for its beers in South Africa and Czech Republic (http://www.waterfootprint.org/Reports/SABMiller-WWF-2009-waterfootprintingreport.pdf).

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