Water, Water, Everywhere?

According to the UN, 663 million people are without clean drinking water. Although from 1990 to 2015, the proportion of the global population drinking from an improved water source increased from 76% to 91%, each day, nearly 1000 children die from preventable water and sanitation related diseases. The lack of clean drinking water impacts employment choices, food security, and educational opportunities. Furthermore, in drought-affected areas, individuals may suffer from hunger and malnutrition.

Today, Tuesday, March 22, is World Water Day, a day designated by the United Nations in 1993. On this day, we honor water and its life-saving properties. We also advocate for those individuals throughout the world who do not have access to clean, potable water. Today is also a day to ensure that our waterways are protected in the future for generations to come.

Each year the UN declares a theme to address a particular water related issue. Last year’s theme was “Water and Jobs.” This theme focused on the 1.5 billion people that depend upon water for work. This year, the UN’s focus is wastewater.

Over 80% of the wastewater released from companies, homes, and towns enter nature and pollute our environment. We need to treat wastewater prior to its release back into the environment. Furthermore, we must work to reduce the quantity of wastewater.

In order to address the water crisis, it is important to unite as a global community. The United Nations released the Sustainable Development Goals in September of 2015. Goal number six is to “ensure access to water and sanitation for all” with six corresponding targets. Corporations around the world are uniting behind these Sustainable Development Goals through Impact 2030.

Today, we highlight three corporations that are driving sustainable change in protecting water resources and educating consumers on the global water shortage.

Nestle Waters North America

Globally, Nestle created global water goals including: reducing water usage, improving water efficiency, controlling quality of discharged water, advocating for better water practices within Nestle and in their supply chain, and promoting water conservation.

Nestle partners with non-profit organizations to conserve fish, improve wetlands, and educate youth on the importance of conservation.

Coca-Cola

In 2007, Coca-Cola set a goal to “safely return to communities and nature an amount of water equal to what they use in their finished beverages and their production.”  

Between 2005 and the end of 2014, Coca-Cola replenished 153.6 billion liters of water to communities and nature. They work with the government and other partners to develop community water projects. These projects have at least one of four objectives:

1) “Improve safe access to water and sanitation”

2) “Protect watersheds”

3) “Provide water for productive use”

4) “Educate and raise awareness about water issues”

CocaCola Water Stewardship

Keurig Green Mountain

Keurig Green Mountain focuses on evaluating how water impacts their entire value chain. In 2014, they invested over $11 million in water partnerships with both American and global non-profit organizations to promote water security.

This World Water Day, take a moment to stop and think about your water usage and how you can contribute to SDG #6! Use #WorldWaterDay to join the conversation on Twitter!