Business Green: Unilever steps up water conservation efforts

Source: Business Green
Toby Hill
30 July 2020

Consumer goods giant unveils latest commitments from its recently announced €1bn ‘nature and climate fund’

Unilever has set out plans for a raft of water management and conservation projects over the next decade, as the consumer goods giant unveiled the latest investments from its recently-announced €1bn ‘nature and climate fund’.

The British-Dutch multinational yesterday said it would partner with the 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG) and the Alliance for Water Stewardship on several projects supporting water management resilience in key water-stressed countries including Vietnam, India, Brazil and South Africa.

WRG, a multistakeholder platform coordinated by the World Bank, will help implement projects at water-stressed sites surrounding manufactoring facilities in five of Unilever’s key markets – India, Brazil, South Africa, Vietnam and Indonesia – it said.

The work aims to build on Unilever’s collaboration with the WRG and the Red Crescent Society in Bangladesh, which helped supply clean drinking water for hospitals with Covid-19 patients, according to the consumer goods giant.

“With growing water scarcity challenges, exacerbated by climate change, it is more critical than ever for stakeholders to join forces to advance water security outcomes,” said World Bank vice president for sustainable development and co-chair of WRG, Juergen Voegele. “We are delighted to welcome Unilever as a global 2030 WRG partner, with its core commitment to the principles of water sustainability, equitable access and livelihood security.”

In addition, Unilever is to join the Alliance for Water Stewardship and trial the organisation’s AWS Standard, a global framework for water stewardship in select water-stressed sites, it said. The partnership is also aimed at helping Unilever expand its Prabhat water programme, which has been implemented in eight manufacturing sites to address gaps in water supply and demand in India, according to the firm.

It follows the launch of three 2030 water sustainability targets from Unilever last month: to make its product formulatons biodegradeable; to implement water stewardship programmes around 100 Unilever manufacturing sites; and to join the 2030 Water Resources Group.

Water scarcity and poor water quality affects 40 per cent of the world’s population, according to the World Bank, with more than 2.1bn people consuming unsafe drinking water. Last month, UN-Water, which coordinates the United Nation’s activity on water and sanitation, announced that the world was “alarmingly off-track” in meeting Sustainable Development Goal six to deliver clean water and sanitation for all.

“We all know water is critical for lives and livelihoods; yet we are wasting it, polluting it, and taking it for granted,”  said Unilever CEO Alan Jope. “We need collective action to solve a water crisis that is wreaking havoc in villages, towns and cities across our planet.”

The water-focused commitments are part of a range of climate and environmental initiatives announced by Unilever last month in the form of a €1bn ‘nature and climate fund’, which is aimed at supporting the firm’s target to reach net zero emissions across its value chain by 2039, backed a range of initiatives including landscape restoration, reforestation, carbon sequestration, wildlife protection, and water preservation projects.

Collective Action as a First Step Toward Scaling Inclusive Farmer-Led Irrigation Development (FLID) Sustainably

July 9, 2020 – 2030 WRG participated in Session II of the Farmer-Led Irrigation Development (FLID) webinar series hosted by the International Water Management Institute together with the World Bank, the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, and the Global Water Partnership. The session focused on sustainably accelerating inclusive FLID as a key to recovery from COVID-19. A video recording of the session can be accessed here or watched below.

Issuing the closing remarks of the session, 2030 WRG Senior Water Resources Management Specialist, Joy Busolo, outlined three key take-aways from the session, drawing on lessons learned from 2030 WRG programs across Asia and Africa.

  1. Technical tools are important but must be accompanied by incentives for behavioral change toward more efficient water-use behavior and local norms.

Enforcing rules based on community coordination and a participatory approach can be effective at inducing efficient behavior among water users as opposed to traditional top-down approaches. To this end, social learning interventions and other low-cost support mechanisms for improved water resources management can be effectively leveraged, even on a large scale. Developing and providing such incentives will require a combination of public and private actors coming together for such provision as well as the availability of reliable data.

  1. Data measurement and collection is critical.

Addressing information asymmetry on the sustainable use of water resources and of productive services is critical to scaling inclusive FLID sustainably and reducing risks. For example, it is still necessary to further test assumptions on water users’ efficient behavior in order to determine whether models can be scaled up. Likewise, more comparative data in terms of volumes of water saved by different models and incentives is needed. Additionally, a greater understanding is required of how such models and incentives affect water markets and choice of crops as well as the impact of such choices on the availability of water resources. Improving the collection and harmonization of local data and information underlines the need for collaboration and coordination among sector stakeholders.

  1. Scaling inclusive FLID sustainably requires collective action and an integrated, multi-scale approach.

Many water users sharing the resource remain unknown to each other, resulting in issues of representation and voice – whether in terms of engaging with farmer associations or women. There is a clear need for different sectors and stakeholders to learn from each other. This in turn fosters an inclusive ecosystem that enables and is conducive to the formulation and implementation of policies, plans, and interventions for the sustainable scaling of FLID. Strengthening private sector engagement in the FLID space can help fill gaps especially in innovative financing and creative technology solutions as well as data collection.

2030 WRG and the way forward

This last idea offers a starting point for moving forward. Strengthening collective action among sectors and stakeholders helps incentivize necessary behavior changes and facilitates the harmonization of information required for sustainable water resources management.

In the Indian province of Karnataka, the 2030 WRG Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP) facilitated the Drip-to-Market Agri-Corridor (DMAC) in Ramthal, which is one of the world’s largest automated community drip irrigation projects and the first of its kind in India. The project has helped reduce the water used for agriculture by up to 40 percent and is being scaled and replicated in other districts in the province. Meanwhile in Eastern Africa (e.g., the irrigation financing facilities of Kenya* and Tanzania), several partners across different sectors including governments, financial institutions, and equipment providers have come together and continue to innovate in irrigation financing for small-scale farmers, leveraging market linkages and partnership models to increase access to finance for irrigation.

Working to unite diverse groups with a common interest in the sustainable management of water resources is at the core of 2030 WRG. While collective action is not an end in itself, it offers a valuable mechanism for scaling inclusive FLID sustainably.

* For the Kenya Irrigation Financing Facility, please refer to p. 88 of the hyperlinked document, particularly the paragraphs on Farmer-Led Irrigation Assessment and Advisory Support.

Unilever joins 2030 WRG Governing Council to address water security issues

Washington DC, July, 2020 – Unilever has joined the 2030 Water Resources Group, a multi-donor trust fund hosted by the World Bank Group, to support 2030 WRG activities globally and in its country programs. The collaboration will focus on strengthening multi-stakeholder collaboration between public, private, and civil society actors on sustainable water resources management.

By 2030, demand for water is expected to exceed freshwater supply by 40%. Due to a lack of adequate infrastructure 1 in 3 people lack safe drinking water, while over half of the global population lack safe sanitation, and 80% of the world’s wastewater is not treated. Handwashing is critical to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but nearly 40% percent of the world’s population—lack basic handwashing facilities. Leadership and strong partnerships are needed for long term social and economic recovery that focus on sustainable water resources management.

Tackling the water scarcity challenge, that is exacerbated by climate change, requires collective action. Unilever sees long-term growth concurrently with reducing the company’s environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact.

Unilever’s CEO, Alan Jope, will join 2030 WRG corporate, public, and civil society partners at the Global Governing Council and Steering Board levels. The company can also directly interact with any of the active multi-stakeholder platforms in 14 countries/states where the trust fund is currently present.

“We all know water is critical for lives and livelihoods; yet we are wasting it, polluting it, and taking it for granted. We need collective action to solve a water crisis that is wreaking havoc in villages, towns and cities across our planet.  Unilever is stepping up its action on water and we look forward to working with the 2030 Water Resources Group for bigger, broader impact.” said Alan.

“The 2030 Water Resources Group is committed to facilitating public-private collaboration to drive resilient economies and societies. We have an opportunity to be part of the current regenerative business movement that has a focus on systems thinking to protect, restore and replenish both human capital and natural resources. It is now more critical than ever for stakeholders to join forces to advance water security outcomes. We are delighted to welcome Unilever as a global 2030 WRG partner, with its core commitment to the principles of water sustainability, equitable access and livelihood security,” said World Bank Vice-President for Sustainable Development, and 2030 WRG Governing Council Co-Chair Juergen Voegele. 

“In the context of growing uncertainties in the world economy and escalating resource constraints, the private sector has a unique role to play in catalyzing innovation, facilitating sustainable delivery models, and serving as an agent of systemic change. Together with the public sector and civil society, companies can drive transformative leadership in the way water resources are managed. Unilever’s commitment to join 2030 Water Resources Group builds on its legacy of accelerating environmental and social sustainability across its value chains and consumer base. We very much look forward to Unilever’s engagement in 2030 Water Resources Group to provide a joint impetus to the global resilience and water security agenda,” said Nestlé Chairman of the Board and Co-Chair of the 2030 WRG Governing Council Paul Bulcke.

Unilever has recently already been collaborating with 2030 WRG in Bangladesh, with the help of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Deputy Commissioner’s offices in 64 districts, supplying drinking water to all hospitals designated for COVID-19 in Dhaka, and conducting a nationwide WASH public education campaign to reach 20 million people.


About the 2030 Water Resources Group

2030 WRG is a public, private, civil society partnership that supports country-level collaboration designed to unite diverse groups with a common interest in the sustainable management of water resources. The trust fund engages stakeholder groups through structured, action-oriented platforms in-country, which have already mobilized close to $1 billion since inception in water security responses. See more: #2030WRG

Read Unilever’s commitment to sustainable development
Unilever sets out new actions to fight climate change, and protect and regenerate nature, to preserve resources for future generations

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Press contacts:

Alida Pham, 2030 Water Resources Group
External Relations Officer

Vacancy Notice | Senior Advisor – 2030WRG Rwanda

Title: Senior Advisor – 2030WRG Rwanda
Organization: 2030 Water Resources Group/World Bank
Contract type: Short Term Consultant (STC)
Assignment expected to be completed within 50 working days
Recruitment Type: International or Local Recruitment
Location: Kigali, Rwanda
Required Language(s): English
Closing Date: July 15, 2020

I. Background

2030 Water Resources Group

  • The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) is a public-private-civil society partnership that supports governments accelerate reforms with the aim to ensuring sustainable water resources management for the long-term development and economic growth of their countries.
  • 2030 WRG aims to accelerate water sector transformation with regard to water security for long-term economic growth, environmental as well as domestic needs and shared prosperity, with a focus on improved demand-side management involving public, private, and civil society stakeholders across agriculture, industry and urban development.
  • As of January 1, 2018, 2030WRG’s hosting arrangement transitioned to the World Bank’s Water Global Practice and had been previously been hosted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC, private sector arm of the World Bank Group).

2030 WRG Rwanda Engagement

  • June 2019, 2030 WRG was requested by World Bank Group and other stakeholders to assess the opportunity for 2030 WRG to engage in Rwanda. During a preliminary scoping mission, various meetings were held with development partners, private sector and government, and it was identified that 2030 WRG could play various roles, amongst them collaborating closely with Ministry of Environment and Rwanda Water Resources Board (RWB) to strengthen private sector engagement in water resources management.
  • Following the consultations in June 2019, a proposed engagement was presented in a Concept Note for discussion with the Government of Rwanda. The following initial intervention areas were identified: (i) Strengthen/establish a National Multi-Stakeholder Platform for Water Resources Management in Rwanda, (ii) undertake a Hydro-Economic Analysis for Rwanda and (iii) Establish and coordinate an Agricultural Water Management working group.
  • During the follow-up mission in March 2020, the mission team met with the RWB, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture among other actors. During the discussions, the RWB clarified its mandate as that of being a single coordination organ for Water Resources Management in Rwanda with full autonomy- which has been recently inaugurated under the Prime Minister’s Office. RWB welcomed 2030 WRG to collaborate closely and to support it achieving its mandate, which it fully aligns with 2030 WRG’s mandate.
  • RWB stressed the need to strengthen existing platforms related to water resources (not to establish new platforms) and to use the 2030 WRG-model to ensure those platforms are action-oriented. RWB also directed 2030 WRG to explore areas of interventions in agricultural water management, watershed management, water storage, water supply and sanitation.
II. Assignment Description

The vision of 2030 WRG Rwanda is to establish or strengthen existing multi-stakeholder platforms to increase public-private collaboration in sustainable water resources management. Hence, the objective of this assignment is to create a thorough understanding of the water resources landscape (stakeholders, platforms and ongoing initiatives and strategies) and identify the unique and complementary roles that 2030 WRG could play in strengthening the existing platforms. The Consultant is required to:

  1. Review existing platforms, initiatives and stakeholders that have a focus in coordinating activities related to water resources management, promote multi-stakeholder participation and/or aims to increase private sector engagement in sustainable water resources management;
  2. Take stock of ongoing projects and programs that promote private sector engagement in water resources management, their financing mechanisms, and identify opportunities for financing water resource projects by thematic area;
  3. Carry out a high-level risk assessment based on 2030 WRG Risk Assessment Guidelines;
  4. Based on the findings above, develop an Action Plan comprising of a Partnership Strategy and Operational Framework for 2030WRG’s engagement with the RWB in Rwanda. The Action Plan should define activities to strengthen the existing platform and jointly coordinate initiatives in collaboration with the RWB;
  5. Develop a Terms of Reference for Hydro- Economic Analysis for Rwanda.

Detailed Key tasks to be accomplished by the Consultant:

  1. Review of existing platforms/working groups and initiatives in Rwanda: with the ambition to identify how the 2030 WRG could support country-level collaboration to coordinate diverse groups with a common interest in sustainable water management, the Consultant is required to:
    • Identify and review existing platforms focusing on the objectives, mandates, activities, results and governance structures of the platforms.
    • Map relevant stakeholders within government institutions, private sectors, civil society organizations, development partners, donors and financial institutions amongst others, and identify relevant key actors to be engaged in operationalizing the vision of 2030WRG to strengthening the existing platforms in water resources management and supporting the achievements of the goals and mandates of RWB and 2030WRG.
    • Conduct a SWOT analysis for the primary stakeholders based on which areas could be identified where 2030WRG could leverage its model and expertise to strengthen and complement the RWB Platform. Using the SWOT analysis, recommend roles and responsibilities for different actors.
    • Describe key roles and responsibilities of the main players and their level of involvement with private sector to ensure water resources’ sustainability;
    • Review existing regional and global platform examples, bring in the best practices and tailor that to the Rwanda context. The consultant could tap into excising 2030 WRG platform knowledge (currently in 14 countries and states) but would also be encouraged to look into alternative sectors such as plastics and food-security.
    • Recommend an appropriate governance structure taking into consideration 2030WRG’s vision and ambition to collectively coordinate the existing platform in collaboration with RWB, to support RWB to play a stronger and more influential role in coordinating investments related to water resources use, management and conservation bringing together all water using sectors (agriculture, industry, infrastructure, environment and energy) and actors (government, private and civil society) in Rwanda.
    • Capacity Building. The Consultant shall make an inventory of capacity building and training needs for the RWB and come up with a proposal presenting a composition of formal and on-the-job training, which will allow the RWB to continue using the methods and tools developed as part of this 2030WRG partnership.
  2. Identify Private Sector opportunities: to strengthen the private sector in their efforts to develop more robust water risk and water stewardship practices. The Consultant is required to:
    • Take stock of ongoing strategies, initiatives, programs and projects that promote private sector engagement in water resources management and identify their financing mechanisms, gaps and opportunities for financing water resource projects, and unique roles that the private sector could play in a multi-stakeholder setting taking into consideration water-related sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining, hydropower, water supply and sanitation etc.
    • Based on this assessment, identify potential and emerging thematic areas which 2030WRG will further explore in the Hydro-Economic Analysis for Rwanda (see iv). Examples of such opportunities are innovative financing models in water supply, waste-water treatment and reuse, multi-use water infrastructure, financing investment in irrigation expansion, watershed management, landscape restoration, etc.
  3. Risk Assessment: The 2030 WRG developed a Risk Assessment Guideline that is being used to assess the risk for new country engagements. Based on that Guideline, the Consultant is required to:
    • Provide the 2030 WRG team with a Risk Analysis for engagement in Rwanda, which will be used for internal purposes to develop a high-level risk mitigation strategy as part of the Partnership Strategy (see next point). Examples of risks to be identified are: financial, economic, social, political, reputational and environmental risks, amongst others.
  4. Develop an Action Plan, comprising of a Partnership Strategy and Operational Framework: based on task 1 and 2 above, the Consultant will closely work with the RWB to:
    • Develop a Partnership Strategy defining the objectives of the strengthened multi-stakeholder platform, its mandates, goals and objectives. Clearly articulate the roles of 2030WRG and RWB in their collaboration to coordinate this multi-stakeholder partnership, identifying any changes required in the governance structure to achieve these goals.
    • Develop a framework for improving the operationalization, communication and coordination of the multi-stakeholder platform taking into consideration the mandate of RWB and the unique and complementary role that 2030 WRG could play in strengthening this existing platform and also 2030WRG’s role in coordination of the agricultural water management working group.
    • Develop an Action Plan outlining necessary activities that 2030WRG and RWB need to undertake to achieve the partnership goals outlined in the strategy. The Action Plan, Partnership Strategy and Operational Framework should include clear timelines.
    • Based on the Action Plan, Partnership Strategy and Operational Framework, the 2030 WRG and RWB will develop a high-level Expression of Intent for further collaboration.
  5. Develop a Terms of Reference (ToR) or Concept Note for Hydro- Economic Analysis for Rwanda: RWB expressed the interest to be supported to develop a Hydro-Economic Analysis (HEA) for Rwanda. Generally, an HEA will contain (i) an overview of the countries water context to be used by policy makers for high-level decision making (including to review water practices of water use, water regulations, water opportunities and threats in Rwanda); (ii) water resources gap analysis and determination of social- economic impacts; (iii) concrete roles and investment opportunities for both the public and private sectors; (iv) The effects of climate change in water resources; and (v) Water resources in space and time (Rain, Surface and Groundwater), how much water in space and time? What quantity? What quality? Who manages it? What rules?
    • Based on previous deliverable, the Consultant is expected to develop ToR and Concept Note for the HEA for Rwanda based upon which an (international) Consultancy Firm could be selected to carry out the Analysis.

The Deliverables for this assignment

The consultant will be assessed on the following deliverables:

  1. Deliverable 1: Draft and submit an inception report
    • Timeline – within 2 weeks from contract signing
    • Content – report to include but not limited to a Workplan showing i) general approach/methodology to be used for this assignment (including high-level stakeholder’s analysis); ii) schedule of workshops, interviews, meetings etc.; and iii) timeline for planned activities;
  2. Deliverable 2: Submit a Draft report
    • Timeline – within 2-3 weeks from approval of inception report
    • Content – report to include but not limited to:
      • Water resources’ stakeholder mapping and review of existing platforms
      • Risk Assessment for 2030WRG engagement in Rwanda
      • Partnership Strategy – including the objectives of the strengthened multi-stakeholder platform, its mandates, goals and objectives
      • Operational Framework – indicating the operationalization, communication and coordination of the multi-stakeholder platform
      • Action Plan (outlining necessary activities that 2030WRG and RWB need to undertake to achieve the goals outlined in the Partnership Strategy)
      • ToR for the Hydro-Economic Analysis for Rwanda
  3. Deliverable 3: Final report – including activities described under “Draft report”

The assignment will be conducted between July to December 30th 2020, with a possible extension, and it is expected to be completed within 35 working days.

III. Supervision

The Consultant will work closely with the 2030 WRG team (led by Joy Busolo) and the RWB. Both organizations (2030 WRG and RWB) will provide inputs to and assess the assignment.

IV. Contract, communication and travel

The TTL for this assignment is Joy Busolo, Senior Water Resources Management specialist and Lead for 2030 WRG Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda. The Consultant will be hired on a World Bank STC (Short Term Consultancy) contract and the consultancy fee will be paid subject to World Bank policies and procedures and after acceptance of the deliverables.

The Consultant is expected to interact with the supervisor and other team members via email, video or phone. The Consultant will be required to travel to Kigali for stakeholder interviews, workshops and potentially at the time of finalizing the deliverables. Transportation will be booked and paid for by the 2030 WRG on behalf of the Consultant, meal and accommodation expenses will be paid to the Consultant according to World Bank travel regulations.

The Consultant is based in Rwanda or is expected to travel one or two times to Rwanda when travel restrictions are lifted and, in the meantime, make use of virtual connections to conduct interviews and undertake the assessment. Besides, the Consultant is expected to join regular calls of the 2030 WRG Rwanda team

V. Qualifications
  • The Consultant should have a minimum of a Master’s degree in Economics, Business Management, Water Resources Management/water diplomacy, Private Sector Development or any other relevant academic experience and shall have demonstrated successful experience in similar works, Private Sector Development and Water Resources Management/water diplomacy
  • Above 12 years of experience in Water sector, Economic Development or Private Sector Management/Business Development, preferably in a multi stakeholder environment
  • The Consultant should be able to synthesize interviews and policy documents into a readable report and presentation
  • Excellent writing and research skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and flexible attitude
  • Excellent organizational skills, team player, multi-tasking skills with strong sense of initiative and responsibility
  • Experience and knowledge of the Rwandan economical and water context is an asset.

Please submit your CV, motivation letter and list of references to by not later than July 15th 2020.