Greenbiz: When beer and water mix: ABInBev teams up on conservation

News source: Greenbiz

In a world of water stress and scarcity, a company’s sustainability can be measured in its use and conservation of water — an analysis of which often yields surprising insights.

When Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) examined its own water footprint, for example, it found that barley growers are responsible for 90 percent of the company’s water usage. In response, it launched several pilot projects to test water management practices and knowledge-sharing networks in agriculture production.

By engaging with its agriculture supply chain, AB InBev is already thinking outside its operational walls. Now the company is collaborating with public entities and environmental NGOs to build sustainable management systems in various watersheds.

In Brazil’s drought-stricken Jaguariúna region, which supplies greater Sao Paulo with water, it joined forces with the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and public-sector entities such as the Jaguariuna Bureau of the Environment and the Brazilian National Water Agency and others in a watershed restoration program that aims to use large-scale green infrastructure to ensure a clean and steady supply of water for all stakeholders in the Jaguari and Jundiai watersheds.

This includes elements of reforestation and soil conservation techniques. The collaboration was the beginning of a unique public-private partnership that now includes other national and regional stakeholders.

“By engaging with its agriculture supply chain, AB InBev is already thinking outside its operational walls. Now the company is collaborating with public entities and environmental NGOs to build sustainable management systems in various watersheds.”

AB InBev isn’t the only company engaging in such private-public partnerships. South African energy and chemical company Sasol formed a partnership with a local municipality and GIZ, Germany’s premier development agency, in an effort to reduce shared water risk through improving urban water infrastructure and plugging leaks. SABMiller, another brewery, partnered with South Africa’s government, WWF and GIZ to identify and reduce watershed risk to hops growers.

And in India, a consortium of national institutions, governments and irrigation companies crafted a program that provides thousands of farmers with credit to upgrade their irrigation systems. Governments benefit from the increase in efficiency and farmers benefit from a larger yield and higher revenues. According to Alastair Morrison, a senior operations officer at 2030 Water Resources Group within the International Finance Corporation, the partnership builds trust between the different parties.

“The public-private alliance isn’t traditional. But each party benefits from working together,” Morrison said during a World Water Week event last week.

This collective approach could be the wave of the future in terms of managing shared and limited water resources. The U.N. Global Compact CEO Water Mandate notes sustainable water management is effectively tied to engagement (PDF) among all the parties with a stake in a water source. And working together often means developing or tapping into new sources of funding.

But don’t be fooled by these success stories into thinking crafting and implementing public-private partnerships for water management is easy.

“It’s a complicated and difficult task,” said Morrison. The event focused on the issue of collective action in the water space from a financial perspective looking specifically at aligning finance for watersheds, agriculture and development. Along with Morrison, panelists from the World Resources Institute, AB InBev and Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends were present.

Why is this so hard?

“It’s difficult for most private companies to think long-term. Most are focused on profits and next quarter sales,” said Ezgi Barcenas, a global manager in AB InBev’s Better World, its corporate social responsibility group.

That’s one of several challenges, which range from communication issues to political reasons, in mobilizing the private sector to engage in water stewardship on a grand scale. This grand scale means engaging with an entire supply chain as well as all parties in a watershed as AB InBev appears to be doing.

Outside of the short-term mindset of private-sector actors, the space is relatively data-sparse and that forms another challenge. AB InBev’s pilot projects and information platform on barley-growers is a good example of what’s needed.

“It’s early days with this and there are a lot of unknowns, which to companies, means risk,” said Todd Gartner, a senior associate at WRI.

“The public-private alliance isn’t traditional. But each party benefits from working together.”

Morrison noted the lack of knowledge and experience regarding public private partnerships can affect decision-making.

The role of government is also tricky. Governments are a key stakeholder that, ideally, establishes the governance and regulatory measures that allow for a fair playing field for companies to engage, Morrison said. However, Barcenas said that governments can come to the table with their own notions about the role of the private sector which doesn’t necessarily coincide with a business perspective.

Reeling in the investors

But the overarching key problem lies in project design, according to Gena Gammie, a manager in the Water Initiative of Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends. Project developers and organizations shape their projects and products to appeal to the traditional philanthropic modes of funding. “They don’t have investors in mind,” Gammie said.

Jan Cassin, director of the Water Initiative, agreed, noting institutional investors want short-term returns. And watershed restoration projects do deliver short-term returns despite the typical belief that they don’t. The hydrological benefits take a long time to develop but there are immediate results in the form of improved operational efficiencies or cost savings from less dredging because of the reduction in sedimentation, Cassin said.

“We need to demonstrate these short-term benefits while we wait for the long-term return on investments,” she said.

Gammie noted an investments in watershed services project (PDF) in Peru’s Jequetepeque watershed was stalled after failing to secure $40 million more. Further analysis, however, showed the project was capable of generating returns outside of a watershed benefit that could attract investors. Agroforestry and silvopastoral interventions, which the project implemented, generate the financial return investors are looking for.

Those involved in the project learned a significant lesson: “In order for these mechanisms to work, we really need to understand the goals and criteria of each actor,” said Gammie.

Smart investments for smart projects

Although most in the water space agree and believe in collective action, it isn’t applicable everywhere, said Gartner. “We need to do a better job of prioritizing where it makes sense,” he said.

Gartner suggests doing this by integrating metrics such as WRI’s Aqueduct tool with its Global Forest Watch instrument to determine shared water risks and stakeholder impacts when assessing potential partnerships and investments.

“The market for conservation impact investing grew to $23 billion between 2009 and 2013 with projections it will increase to nearly $40 billion over the next five years.”

Engaging investors early and often is also good, Gartner said, as is working with major players in the financial sector such as JP Morgan Chase or Goldman Sachs that have divisions dedicated to sustainability matters.

“We need to get better at helping them help us,” Gartner said.

And as much as the challenges are present, so are opportunities, which are evident in the existing public private partnerships noted. The growing urgency of the global water crisis, which the World Economic Forum made clear when it listed water atop its Global Risks 2015 report, is a major motivator for private investors and companies to get involved.

Impact investing, where investors are looking to make a social and environmental impact alongside a financial return, is on the rise. These investors potentially would have interest in watershed restoration projects that restore degraded waterways while building sustainable livelihoods for marginalized people.

The market for conservation impact investing grew to $23 billion between 2009 and 2013 with projections it will increase to nearly $40 billion over the next five years, according to a TNC and Eco-Asset Management report.

There are also quality standards and certifications, familiar to the carbon world, trickling over to water which can reduce the risk for investors. These protocols such as the Gold Standard’s Water Benefit Standard allow investors to easily track and recognize good water projects.

In short, panelists recognized the complexities and difficulties in establishing public private partnerships but also saw great potential.

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TriplePundit: PepsiCo states Industry-Led Water Innovation is a Vital Investment in Our Future

News Source: TriplePundit

By Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo

Water scarcity is one of the greatest risks facing humanity and the global economy. Water shortages—from the U.S. to Peru to India—are impacting every facet of our society, including our global food supply. The UN estimates that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will live in countries or regions in which water is scarce, and approximately two-thirds of the world’s population could soon be living under water-stressed conditions. With ratification of the UN Sustainable Development Goals just days away, governments, as well as business leaders must take action to meet these challenges.

Water is a fundamental human right, and water stress has distinct, deep consequences in communities around the world. It is the responsibility of every company, government and public institution to develop solutions that meet acutely local needs, and scale those with widespread applicability to drastically improve water availability and efficiency.

The food and beverage industry, for example, must redouble its focus on innovation and collaboration, to do more with less. This work includes product reformulations, sustainable agricultural practices and manufacturing and operational efficiencies, all of which can lead to water efficiency gains.

This is not simply good for society. Promoting water stewardship is also a strategic investment in long-term business resilience and sustainability. PepsiCo for example, decreased its absolute water use by approximately one billion liters last year and achieved cost saving of approximately $17 million in 2014 alone from reducing our water use per unit of production. Overall, we have reduced our water use per unit of production by 23% since from 2006 to 2014, already exceeding our public target of a 20 percent reduction by the end of 2015. We report on these efforts in our newly released 2014 Sustainability Report and at the sustainability micro-site

All industries are being impacted by the realities taking shape today, including droughts and extreme weather, and we applaud other companies that share our commitment to addressing this issue and contributing to meaningful solutions. Diageo is a great example.  It has recently released its Water Blueprint, a strategy that outlines how the company will protect and manage its water resources globally, especially in the water-stressed areas where a third of its production takes place.

We can also learn from pioneering startups and benefit from cutting-edge technology. PepsiCo is developing an innovative approach to farming potatoes used to make our Lay’s chips and Walkers crisps. Working with farmers and academic partners in the U.K., including Cambridge University, we are deploying technologies through our “50 in 5” program to reduce the carbon footprint and water used to grow potatoes by half over a 5-year period. We have made great progress so far, enabling growers to decrease water use by 31 percent by the end of 2013 and cut their carbon footprint by 42 percent by the end of 2014, and we are on target to reach both our water and carbon footprint goals by the end of this year.

Partnerships are crucial, because global value chains are so large and involve many interconnected players. The public, private and non-profit sectors must work together. We have embraced this spirit of collaboration to reduce water usage in our operations and help to provide access to safe water in communities where we do business. For example, through the PepsiCo Foundation and in partnership with non-profit organizations, such as, Safe Water Network, Columbia Water Center, the Inter-American Development Bank, China Women’s Development Foundation and 2030 Water Resources Group, among others, we are helping local communities in Brazil, China, Columbia, India, Jordan and Mexico to provide access to safe water for millions of people through initiatives that include water conservation, distribution, purification and hygiene. It is through these kinds of collaborations that we have reached our goal to provide access to safe water to six million people in developing countries one year ahead of our target.

Systemic changes across sectors and among competitors will encourage innovation and wider adoption of proven tools and practices. To make an impact, we must look at the entire water use system, from end to end and embed sustainable water use into our products from the start. And while business has the ability and the responsibility to do more to address global water issues, governments should also promote and incentivize smart water use with tools such as research and development tax credits, matching funds and regulatory reforms to create a legitimate “enabling environment” that frees capital and stimulates sustainable, holistic water solutions.

Only by working together and rethinking our approach to global water stewardship—just as we have begun to shift our thinking on the issue of carbon emissions—can we enable water to be a resource that is abundant and flexible enough to meet the world’s needs in coming decades.

Dr. Mehmood Khan is PepsiCo’s Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer, Global Research and Development and chair of the company’s Sustainability Task Force.

The Guardian: Water shortage is one of the top global risks, how can we avert it?

News Source: The Guardian

Governments, civil society, corporations, farmers and grassroots organisations must co-operate to avoid the dangers ahead

Growing an economy is very thirsty business. We need to double food production – but we’re already using an average 70% of the world’s fresh water for agriculture. Meanwhile industrialised countries – the US in particular – are diverting 40% of their water to energy production, and that demand will also rise. Unsustainable levels of water are being extracted from many of the world’s fresh water ecosystems: up to 80%-90% of water is already being used in many arid and semi-arid river basins where water is scarce, according to the World Water Council. It is, quite simply and literally, unsustainable.

Such trade-offs have been poorly executed in the past, even in our most developed economies. In 2011 Texas nearly blacked out due to water shortages for its energy sector. Water experts have calculated that 26% of US-installed power-plant capacity is located in areas of water stress, a situation that will only get worse in the coming decades. Utility engineers in much of the US’s west and midwest will tell you how concerned they are.

These experiences offer valuable lessons for everyone, but particularly for emerging economies, where there is a tremendous opportunity to avoid the mistakes that others have made. The dangers of stranded energy or agricultural assets in a few decades can be minimised if water risk is fully accounted for now in development strategies and investment plans.

As recognition grows about the risk that water poses to our economic growth and development (the top global risk in the World Economic Forum Global Risks report this year), there are the demands from politicians, farmers and industry for new models and innovative solutions, new collaborative approaches for action at scale. There is a thirst for a new “water economy” where water really is everyone’s business.

Building the foundations for a new water economy will be difficult. It will require different sectors and specialists to work together. How do we construct an economy that is water-smart enough to secure future food and energy needs, while at the same time ensuring water for people and for nature, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience to manage the future water stresses?

All this was discussed intensively at the 25th Annual World Water Week in Stockholm, with the takeaway lesson being not that we have an off-the-shelf answer to this challenge (there is none) but that we need new models of cooperation, and that we already have sufficient data to begin redressing this systemic problem.

There is now genuine coalescence around a new, more strategic economic imperative to “get water right”, and it is percolating through the water community and beyond. This is exciting. The water agenda is reshaping. From this year’s Stockholm Water Prize Winner Rajendra Singh, who mobilises communities across India to build water security and resilience using traditional rainwater-harvesting techniques, to high-level discussions involving heads of state, leaders of international organisations and world experts, a call to action for a new global water economy is emerging and we must urgently amplify it.

And the timing is just right. The important international milestones of 2015 – the launch of the sustainable development goals and the focus on reaching a climate change agreement in Paris – will provide an important launch pad for propelling this much-needed new water economy agenda into 2016 and beyond. The risks of not transitioning to a new water economy are simply too great to contemplate.

Dominic Waughray is head of public-private partnerships at the World Economic Forum. Fred Boltz is managing director for ecosystems with The Rockefeller Foundation. Follow @dwaughray on Twitter.

Join our community of development professionals and humanitarians. Follow@GuardianGDP on Twitter, and have your say on issues around water in development using #H2Oideas.

Catalyzing PPPs in India’s Ganga rejuvenation efforts

New Delhi, September — 2030 WRG is embarking on a rejuvenation journey with the Ministry for Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation. One of the upcoming activities will focus on two hotspots: a river segment between the Hindu pilgrim cities Vrindavan and Mathura and the leather tannery cluster in Kanpur. The aim is to catalyze PPP projects in urban and industrial waste water treatment.

It is foreseen that a PPP facilitation and monitoring panel will guide these demonstration projects beyond local project delivery by evaluating scalability of the PPP models across the basin. Also a Ganga Multi-Stakeholder Action Forum is being established together with a consortium of academia of the Indian Institutes of Technology, private sector and civil society institutions. The aim is to support the government moving from a planning into an execution phase with tangible transformation on the ground. This membership based forum will be open for all stakeholders with an interest in the exciting Ganga rejuvenation journey.


FT: Sustainable Development: sanitation needs more private investment

By Sarah Murray, Financial Times reporter

Some 5,000 people living on low-incomes in poor housing in the Ghanaian city of Kumasi have been given better access to toilet facilities thanks to a project that uses an innovative business model. More than 1,000 toilets have been provided to residents under the scheme, designed by, a non-profit spin-off from Ideo, an innovation and design consultancy. Some 80 per cent of the population of Kumasi lacks domestic sanitation.

To prepare for the project, Ideo interviewed families about the kinds of sanitation they used. It found people were either defecating in the open or using poorly maintained public toilets. The only other option for them was to invest in a pit latrine, which are expensive to install and need to be emptied periodically by vacuum trucks, further adding to the cost.

“It was pretty unaffordable for middle and lower-class families in Kumasi,” says Jocelyn Wyatt, co-lead and executive director at “So we thought that there could be a service model instead.” The end result was a rental toilet, also designed by, with a waste removal service, which households pay a monthly fee to use.

The UN estimates that more than 2.5bn people in the world lack basic sanitation services. These are badly needed. Among other things, lack of sanitation facilities increases the incidence of diarrhoea, a leading cause of death in children under five. The challenge is coming up with ways to fund the infrastructure needed to provide sanitation services.

Creating markets and educating consumers of the health benefits of sanitation is part of the process, says Sean Moore, portfolio manager at Acumen, a New York-based social impact investment fund. “The challenge has been understanding how people value clean water,” he says. “How do you create a willingness for people to spend their little discretionary money on this versus other things?”

This is a question being considered by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, part of the UN. Working with governments, non-governmental organisations and others, the WSSCC is developing education and training programmes, as well as awareness-raising campaigns that, for example, encourage people to adopt good hygiene practices such as hand washing.

“The approach is to bring about a change in thinking on the part of large numbers of people on the connection between sanitation and health, education and human dignity,” says Chris Williams, WSSCC’s executive director.

Generating demand is one thing, but creating incentives for investment in the infrastructure needed to supply sanitation services is another, and many see a bigger role for business and the financial sector. Globally, just 8 per cent of financing for water and sanitation infrastructure comes from the private sector, according to a report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group.

“One of the main challenges is the fact that in much of the developing world, responsibility for managing water and sanitation rests with government,” says Will Davies, Africa lead for the IFC’s 2030 Water Resources Group. “Utilities are often not run on financially sustainable lines and so find it difficult to access private financing.”

Moreover, traditional public sector or aid-based approaches to infrastructure have not always been successful, says Acumen’s Mr Moore and he cites the construction of water boreholes and wells as an example. “Often, the appropriate maintenance services weren’t in place and there wasn’t ownership of them by the community,” he says. He sees promise in local responses and companies that tap into microfinance and pay-as-you-go models or find innovative ways of generating revenue from water and sanitation facilities.

In India, for example, Guardian, a microfinance institution, makes small loans that allow families to buy water and sanitation products and services such as toilets, connections to the municipal water supply, rainwater harvesting equipment and household water purifiers.

Meanwhile, in Kenya, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology spin-off called Sanergy franchises its locally built Fresh Life-branded toilets to local micro-entrepreneurs operating in slums, and every day it takes the waste to be converted into organic fertiliser and sold to farmers. Sanergy’s model provides work and improves sanitation. And by selling waste to farmers, it generates the revenue needed to become financially sustainable.

When it comes to investments in large-scale sanitation infrastructure, the IFC is also working to help businesses develop skills and access financing through its Sanitation and Safe Water For All advisory service.

Mr Davies believes that widening access to private finance is essential to meet the global need for water and sanitation facilities. “The capacity of the public sector to finance the infrastructure is never going to be enough,” he says.

Source: Financial Times – see the article on the FT website

Statejournal Letter to the Editor: If you spoil our water then you need to pay for our water

News Source:

Water is life. Every living thing on this earth needs access to clean water to survive. It’s our most precious resource. The 2030 Water Resources Group has predicted that water demand will exceed supply by 40 percent in 15 more years. We are very fortunate to live in a state with a plentiful supply. By comparison, California is in its fourth year of a drought and water rationing has been implemented. While our supply is abundant, we cannot take this resource for granted. With our climate in flux, we should be doing everything we can to protect and preserve our water resources. According to the West Virginia Water Resources Protection Act (West Virginia Code 22-26-3), “The waters of the State of West Virginia are claimed as valuable public natural resources held by the state for the use and benefit of its citizens.” Citizens — that’s us.

So what are we doing with our plentiful and precious water? Besides drinking and recreating in it, we give it away to industry. Extracting natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale is a very water intensive process. Every time a well is drilled, an average of 4 million gallons of water is used. With approximately 1,200 active wells and over 3,000 permitted, the gas industry needs a lot of water. Environment America estimates West Virginia has used 17 billion gallons of water for hydraulic fracturing from 2005 to 2013.

Where does all the water they use come from? In most cases, it is sucked right out of our rivers and streams. There are approximately 155 water withdrawal sites permitted in West Virginia. The water is mixed with a cocktail of chemicals and pumped underground to fracture the shale and capture the natural gas. Once a gas well has been drilled, the water resurfaces as flowback and produced water, which is essentially industrial waste. The water is too polluted to return it to the rivers and streams from which it was taken. So instead, the toxic water is disposed of in underground injection wells where it is supposed to remain, but that’s another issue.

Why is the natural gas industry allowed to waste our water? These companies do not pay a cent for taking this water from our rivers and streams and ruining it. It’s only fair these companies compensate us for the use of that water. They need to pay for taking and using our most precious resource. West Virginia citizens should not be required to give away such a vital resource to enhance the profits of the gas companies.

It’s time for gas drillers to pay — even a very modest amount — for the water they take from West Virginians. You want it? You use it? You spoil it? You should pay for it.

Jim Sconyers
West Virginia Sierra Club
Terra Alta

2030 WRG participates in Stockholm World Water Week 2015

Flying flags in StockholmThe 2030 Water Resources Group joined this year’s World Water Week 25th jubilee at the Stockholm City Conference Center in Sweden with a number of activities.

Sunday Seminar: Public Private Civil Society Platforms for Development

Obey Assery speaking

Obey Assery speaking during the Sunday Seminar on Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships.

The Sunday seminar on Public Private and Civil Society Platforms for Development demonstrated the potential of action-oriented multi-stakeholder partnerships on water resources management in diverse contexts as Peru, India, South Africa and Tanzania. Key success factors and lessons from concrete water initiatives implemented through these MSPs were shared through high-level panel discussions focusing on how priority engagements are identified, balancing the needs of different stakeholders, and how innovative financing models can be applied for agri-technology acceleration, wastewater treatment and reuse, water conservation and cost-effective water storage infrastructure. Panelists included Rajendra Singh, 2015 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Oksana Nagayets from IFC, André Fourie and Meenakshi Sharma from SABMiller,  and various partner representatives from the WRG countries of engagement.

View a recording of the event on the SIWI website

Thursday Seminar: Innovative financing mechanisms to implement the SDGs

Anders Berntell in panel on new partnerships

2030 WRG participated in a TV talk show coordinated by the Swiss Water Partnership on innovative initiatives to maximize finance to implement the SDGs.


2030 WRG co-convened a session with the Swiss Water Partnership, The Gold Standard Foundation, World Vision, First Climate Markets AG and the Stockholm International Water Institute on innovative initiatives to maximize finance to implement the SDGs. Panelists discussed the various challenges and added value of getting new players on board, how to assure funding gets to the most vulnerable and excluded and corporate perspectives on water stewardship.

View a recording of the event on the SIWI website




SIWI Sofa on proven solutions for water use transformation

SIWI Sofa interview recording

SIWI Sofa interview recording with 2030 WRG and Arup on water scarcity solutions around the world.

Anders Berntell, 2030 WRG Executive Director and Mark Fletcher, Arup’s Global Water Director, discussed a source of currently available, replicable and practical solutions for water use transformation. The solutions have been collected in the 2030 WRG commissioned catalogue of case studies: ‘Managing Water Use in Scarce Environments’. In a podcast interview with Eric Paglia, the producer and host of, an environmental radio program, 15 newly added case studies were discussed as well as the scope of the cases in the extended catalogue, the general lessons that can be learned by comparing the case studies, how best practices are measured and assessed, and how they can be transferred and implemented from one region to another, and how the wider water sector can be mobilized to formulate and communicate such best practices in areas suffering from water scarcity.

2030 WRG booth and networking presentations

2030 WRG booth visitors WWWeek15The 2030 WRG team, country representatives and various invited partners from Africa, Asia and the LAC region welcomed a range of booth visitors at the open expo in front of the main conference hall. Partner organizations, conference participants, students and interested visitors from the City of Sweden engaged with 2030 WRG staff and affiliates in learning more about our activities in the countries of engagement.




Other activities

Alastair Morrison on Panel discussion during WWWeek 15

2030 WRG’s Alastair Morrison presented the group’s work with a focus on inclusive platforms and financing  in a number of other seminars including Rethinking Governance, and Integrating Financing for Water.