New Project Idea : Water Solvable - Eco-innovations for water resilient businesses and their supply chains
To demonstrate and stimulate the wider adoption of water stewardship practices and innovative approaches to water management by businesses within their own operations and throughout their supply chains to ensure economic and environmental resilience within the North Sea Region.
The ultimate aim is to develop a scalable approach and network (a water stewardship service) that can support businesses to implement best practice approaches to water stewardship (and the multiple benefits that this can deliver such as improved water quality and efficiency, soil health and biodiversity) within the North Sea Region.
Achieving this will benefit business and the environment at the local, national and transnational scale.
Water is a fundamental natural resource underpinning much of the NSR economy, particularly agriculture. However, the risks to business from water availability and/or quality either directly or through their own operations or their product supply chain remains a major shared challenge across the NSR. In 2018 World Economic Forum identified water as one of the top 5 risks to growth.
The project aims to address this challenge by enabling the adoption of innovative and sustainable approaches to water management by businesses:
1) within their own operations
2) working collectively with other businesses
3) working with government and wider civil society.
The complexity and geography of today`s product supply chains (particularly food and drink) mean that products consumed in one country can have detrimental impact in another. Although the growing importance of good water stewardship is well recognised by big business as is evidenced by the membership of the CEO water mandate and Alliance for Water Stewardship, it can be difficult for businesses to know how to practically implement sustainable water stewardship practices throughout their supply chains. Particularly when the practices are transnational, require collective action or where the local delivery network is fragmented or focused on a specific issue.
The project will involve working with some of the major retailers and brands, their SME suppliers and local delivery partners (assumed at this stage to be those involved in catchment management) to develop, pilot and share best practice approaches to delivering, mutually beneficial, practical water stewardship measures.
Although complimentary this project is very different from the existing SalFar and WaterCog projects. SalFar focuses on degraded farmland and innovation approaches to saline soils whilst WaterCOG is focusing on the integration and implementation of various water management frameworks at a local level. This project is very different but has the potential to amplify the impact of both SalFar and Water COG by increasing the adoption of the water stewardship principles and improving the means and ease of their delivery throughout supply chains across the North Sea Region.
- An understanding of eco-innovation approaches to water stewardship across the North Sea Region.
- Identification of best practices approaches to delivering water stewardship and the development of an idealised `model` of delivery for businesses to adopt.
- A number of demonstration projects to highlight eco-innovation in business operations
- A number of pilot projects with business to demonstrate `collective action` in terms of local governance and the delivery of practical interventions.
- An improved understanding of water stewardship by business and local delivery bodies
- Continued decline in water quality and availability
- Continued degradation of soils
- Increasingly complex supply chains and potential (post Brexit) divergence of standards
- Increased business exposure to water related risk
- A fragmented delivery network for Water Stewardship – there is the potential through the project to amplify existing best practice
- Stimulate economic growth alongside environmental sustainability.
Promoting green economic activity
Sustainable resource use