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Business, Water and Sustainable Development

Tuesday - 14:30 - 16:00


Development , Thematic Process


Room 35


[HLP 7]

Over the past 15 years numerous major multinational corporations (MNCs) have made remarkable progress in terms of improving their water use efficiencies and wastewater management practices not only in their manufacturing processes but also throughout their supply chains. There are many reasons as to why this remarkable transformation has been possible in such a short period of time. The first reason is primarily existential. Many CEOs of MNCs have realized that if their companies are to survive and thrive, they must have reliable access to appropriate quantity and quality of water supply consistent with good wastewater management practices, including extensive reuse and recycling practices. Second, they have realized sustainability is more than a slogan: it is no longer window-dressing. By extensively using sustainable processes and practices, a business can gain competitive edge over their rivals in terms of costs and thus profits, steadily enhance their market share and boost their shareholder values. Third, such practices add to their global reputation as environmentally and socially conscious companies and add to their “green” credentials. Fourth, by improving their water use efficiencies, they also reduce their energy and carbon footprints which add to their environmental reputation and also increase their net profits. Accordingly, CEOs of many MNCs have realized that reducing their water requirements will not only increase their net return to their shareholders but also add to their social and environmental reputation. Some businesses, by changing their manufacturing processes and management practices can already operate in a net zero-water environment. The objective of the proposed HLP will be to explore what have been the enabling environments that have allowed MNCs to make many revolutionary changes, how they plan to improve further their water management practices in the future, how to encourage other national and international businesses to follow their footsteps and what roles business can play in promoting water-related sustainable development goals in the coming years.
OUTPUTS: 1. A Policy brief that will be prepared by the co-chairs for extensive publication in the global media; 2. Assuming the 8th Forum can video the entire session, the co-organizers will ensure it is widely distributed in the social media and made available in the websites of several institutions.


Prof Asit K. Biswas, Singapore, Email: