New Delhi, December 18, 2014: Centre for Responsible Business (CRB) and Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) organized a “Foundations of Water Stewardship” workshop, a one-day training program to provide an introduction to the emerging area of water stewardship and the AWS International Water Stewardship Standard. The event was organized in India Habitat Centre, New Delhi and was attended by around 25 consultants, trainers and CSR professionals from corporate and developmental organizations.
India has more than 18% of the world’s population, but has only 4% of world’s renewable water resources and 2.4% of world’s land area. There are further limits on utilizable quantities of water owing to uneven distribution over time and space. Improved water supplies are critical since they mitigate several allied issues like child mortality, poor maternal health, lack of universal education, gender inequality and poverty. Keeping this in mind, the National Water Policy 2012, formulated by the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, treats water as economic good which will promote conservation and efficient use of water.
Mr. Adrian Sym, Executive Director, AWS, said “Water stewardship helps companies understand and improve their water use in this context of a catchment. Importantly, the AWS Standard allows companies to demonstrate their good stewardship of our most precious resource to other stakeholders, whether that is government, communities, investors or through supply chains. Today’s training program in Delhi is an important step to rolling out water stewardship in India and building the networks and partnerships that are needed to achieve the maximum impact for the country’s critical water resources.”
Another important step, taken by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, is the introduction of CSR clause (Section 135 of Companies Act, 2013) which mentions water issues and environmental sustainability (which includes sustainable water use) as one of areas in which corporates can pursue CSR activities. All these steps are aimed at making corporates a major player in the area of water conservation through proactive stewardship.
Ria Bakshi, Senior Consultant at Grant Thornton and a participant at the workshop said “AWS training was quite comprehensive from knowledge perspective. Integrating various standards like GRI, CDP etc with AWS particularly on the data requirements was a good learning. AWS very well encapsulates the concept of Natural Capital Accounting in its framework, which I shall be promoting to my clients since it makes a lot of long-term business sense. The training was extremely engaging and interactive too!”
Dr. Bimal Arora, CEO, CRB, said “Stewardship is the best way forward and Alliance for Water Stewardship offers the framework to engage in that stewardship for companies where they can ensure the four outcomes - sustainable water balance, good water governance, important water related areas and water quality. This is in my view is going to be very helpful for companies and also in process of engaging with stakeholders.”
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