The materiality of water is clear and urgent, as evident from recent examples across the globe. Water is not only key to the world's stability, prosperity and peace, but it is also essential for business to operate.
In the next three decades, the demand for water will increase by 40-50% for the global food system, by 50-70% for the municipal/industrial sector, and by 85% for the energy sector. Increasing competition for water demands immediate action, and a steep change in the way that companies manage water.
Investors are also paying closer attention to water. In this context, the CEO Guide aims to encourage widespread action by companies across the world, regardless of their sector and size.
The CEO Guide lays out the business case for water, outlining physical and non-physical water-related risks and presents significant business opportunities connected to water, including increased resilience and market growth.
Through a water toolbox for business, the Guide then proposes a seven-step framework for business leaders to follow to move towards responsible stewardship of water. It suggests for business to put in place sufficient board level oversight and risk management strategies, to implement business solutions to address water-related challenges, and to engage in dialogue with consumers and stakeholders. Best practice examples show concrete applications to inspire business leaders.
The Guide's foreword is signed by WBCSD President and CEO Peter Bakker and chair Sunny Verghese (Co-founder & CEO Olam), alongside Ivan Menezes (CEO, Diageo), Gilbert Ghostine(CEO, Firmenich), Magdi Batato (Executive Vice President & Head of Operations, Nestlé SA), Indra K. Nooyi (Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo), and Antoine Frérot (CEO, Veolia).