What’s Your Company’s Water Footprint?

Source : Harvard Business Review Last year we heard a chorus of “water is the new oil,” including a memorable BusinessWeek cover depicting oil baron T. Boone Pickens knee-deep in H20. This year the cry is “water is the new carbon” in response to a heightened awareness that resources such as water are more critical and valuable to a company’s operation (and brand value) than previously assumed. If you are a water-intensive business such as the food and beverage sector, water is now at the top of your list of sustainability issues to address. Yes, water is a key business risk that needs to be managed just as energy and carbon are now managed. But in fact, water is not the new oil or the new carbon, and neither comparison is a constructive way to view the value and risk of water within a business context. Water presents several unique challenges: it is not actually “used,” but simply “borrowed” (water is used and discharged returning it to the hydrologic cycle for potential …

Water as a scarce resource: An interview with Nestlé’s chairman

Source: The McKinsey Quarterly The chairman of Nestlé explains why water is “by far the most valuable resource on this planet” and what we must do to conserve it. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of Nestlé, has repeatedly warned that water is becoming a scarce resource. Water tables are falling particularly fast in regions where agricultural output is increasing, such as in India. “The water crisis that seems possible within the next 10 to 20 years will therefore quite probably trigger significant shortfalls in cereal production and, as a result, a massive global food crisis,” he says. A member of the European Roundtable of Industrialists and of the World Economic Forum’s foundation board, Brabeck-Letmathe has not been shy about using his public platforms to speak out on water issues. But what is Nestlé itself doing to conserve water?   The Quarterly: What challenges does water scarcity pose to a company like Nestlé?  Peter Brabeck-Letmathe: Water is, for us, a strategic issue. The main challenge is no doubt water security for the farmers who supply our factories …

Water crisis looms over India

Source : Hindu Businessline Water is a scarce resource to be allocated judiciously between various uses.   After gaining independence in 1947, India gave considerable priority to water, particularly irrigation-related projects. The impact of the irrigation projects has been spectacular, nationally, through higher production of foodgrains and electricity, and regionally, through generation of large direct and equally-large indirect economic benefits. At present, India has a capacity to store approximately 213 billion cubic metres of water, and a gross irrigated area of approximately 90 million hectares. Yet, we are struggling today to meet the growing demand for water, and resolve a growing number of conflicts involving various users. The water sector is beset with inter-state river disputes, and increasing droughts and floods. Meeting the water needs of Indian society, business and the environment in future will be heavily constrained by the quantity and quality of water. WATER BALANCE The National Commission on Water of 1999 has already admitted that overall water balance in the country is precarious. It states that a …

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