GEMI has developed
this websitethe Water Sustainability Toolto assist
individual companies and other organizations to better understand
what emerging water issues might mean for them, given their
operations, needs, and circumstances. The tool is designed
to help individual companies build a business water strategy.
The tool encourages businesses to:
- Conduct a systematic
assessment of their relationship to water
- Identify specific
opportunities and risks associated with this relationship
- Assess the business
case for action
- Tailor a water
strategy that addresses specific needs and circumstances
of the organization
- Ensure that water-related
opportunities and risks are tracked and managed effectively
into the future using a continual improvement framework
The website contains a general discussion
of the signals leading to a growing business
case for pursuing coordinated, sustainable water strategies.
It also includes background to help companies understand the
water trends that are shaping
the global business environment.
As companies begin to develop strategies
to respond to water challenges,
they may face common difficulties in moving forward on a sustainable
path. This website also includes tips for overcoming misperceptions
and public policy disincentives.
The Tool Roadmap
Sustainability Tool contains five core analytical stages,
or modules. These include:
- Module 1: Water Use, Impact, and Source
- Module 2: Business Risk Assessment
- Module 3: Business Opportunity Assessment
- Module 4: Strategic Direction and Goal
- Module 5: Strategy Development and Implementation
Each of the five analytical modules includes
specific steps that can help answer the key questions associated
with each module (see the tool roadmap diagram below for an
overview of the modules, key questions, and outputs). Each
module is supplemented by helpful resources
and brief case studies that
highlight how companies have approached the analytical steps.
Modules are sequenced to assist users in
evaluating the business case and developing a strategy to
address water challenges.
The modules also can be used in an iterative
manner. For example, the current state assessment modules
(Modules 1 and 2)
are designed to enable both a first pass assessment
as well as a more detailed assessment that could be conducted
at a later point. Users are encouraged to adapt this analytical
framework to meet their companys specific needs, taking
into account steps that may have already been completed.
on the Value Chain
and risks are emerging throughout companies value chains.
For example, certain suppliers may be vulnerable to water
supply availability risks that could impact a business
costs or availability of key production inputs, from raw materials
to energy. At the other end of the value chain, the use or
final disposition of a companys products or services
could affect water resources in beneficial or detrimental
ways. In order to help businesses consider upstream and downstream
opportunities and risks related to water, this tool utilizes
a five-stage value chain (or material flow chain). The value
chain figure below presents the five value chain stages used
for the current state assessment (Modules 1 and 2).
The value chain approach is designed to
help companies identify and assess water uses and impacts
in places where they might not be immediately obvious. For
example, water-related risks and opportunities may appear
in raw material or production stages, linked with key process
inputs and suppliers, or in later stages, associated with
product use or final disposition. Companies may find that
they rely upon or impact water in unexpected ways.