Thousands of people flocked to the south of France beginning March 12 – not for the beaches, wineries or other tourist spots but to address a critical global issue: water. The sixth World Water Forum was held in Marseille, bringing together representatives from a broad cross-section of interested groups including governments, companies, civil societies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), academics and others.
Every three years since 1997, the World Water Forum assembles leaders of government, NGOs, academia, investors and the private sector to creatively pursue water conservation and stewardship.
People from 180 counties took part in more than 400 hours of discussions, workshops and debates on water. Ecolab was represented by Dr. Geoff Townsend, a research fellow, and Emilio Tenuta, vice president of corporate sustainability.
Geoff participated in a corporate panel on water stewardship that included speakers from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), Sealed Air and the United Nations’ CEO Water Mandate.
The panel helped introduce the first draft of the AWS International Water Stewardship Standard, which aims to support water users in taking appropriate actions to evaluate and improve their impacts on watersheds. The standard was developed during the last two years by AWS with the support of a network of NGOs and the private sector, including Nalco. Ecolab is continuing that support and will be implementing field testing of the standard with several customers. AWS hopes to finalize the standard by mid-2013.
"The release of this first draft of the AWS standard represents an important milestone in the way we can provide structured support for our customers in taking appropriate actions to evaluate and improve their impacts on watersheds,” Geoff said.
Emilio also joined other corporate and NGO leaders in a CEO Water Mandate Workshop, held in conjunction with the World Water Forum. The CEO Water Mandate is composed of more than 80 companies whose chief executives have committed to individual and collective action to advance water stewardship in their own operations as well as in their supply chains, watersheds and communities. Nalco has been a signatory since 2010, as are a number of key customers including Coca-Cola, Dow, GalaxoSmithKline, Nestle and Shell.
“Some of the major CEO Water Mandate project streams discussed at the meeting were collective action, developing a web-based water hub for best practice sharing and building a corporate water disclosure framework,” Emilio said. “The new Ecolab is well positioned to enable our customers to solve their toughest water and energy challenges with solutions that draw upon these water stewardship principles.”
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