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Water Stewardship

Whether it’s used as a resource for economic production or for essentially human health and wellbeing, water resources often sit at the heart of business and community success and health. The RBA Code of Conduct requires members to account for and manage their water withdrawal, use, and discharge with a robust system that categorizes their source and condition. However, without contextualizing conditions and geographic location of use, it’s difficult for a facility to account for impact to local communities that depend on the same resources, or account for the full risk of flooding or drought to their operations. The achievement of true water stewardship that accounts for the holistic value of water is the path forward for the industry in support of its commitment to be a responsible global citizen.

Several supply chain factors, including facility location, activity and product, impact the categorization of water as a critical environmental issue and is usually dependent on member and supplier activity and location. Additionally, the geographic nature of water regulation and use hinders the ability to provide broad solutions and policies. The changing landscape of water availability and quality make water an increasingly prominent risk and focus area for RBA members.

The transition from water management to contextual-based water stewardship requires expertise and guidance. The Alliance for Water Stewardship has led the development of tools and guidance across industries, improving local water uses and building resiliency to increasingly erratic water conditions. As the RBA partners with the Alliance for Water Stewardship to advance engagement and practices within our industries, we have collectively analyzed existing landscapes and developed tools and resources that build capacity and knowledge.

Through the Water Survey in RBA-Online, companies can receive information on their suppliers’ water use and stewardship. The survey is designed to align with leading industry practices identified by the Alliance for Water Stewardship and WWF Water Risk Filter so that data collected not only internally drives decision making, but can be used in the latest risk and maturity assessment tools. By understanding not only the facility operations, but the localized context, facility managers and RBA members can transition to better water stewardship practices.

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