A new partnership between the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) and The Water Council (TWC) provides a framework to advance corporate sustainability performance and water stewardship across the region, the groups announced.
The pair views corporate water stewardship as a growing necessity in the face of climate change and its increased risks of droughts, floods, deteriorating infrastructure and poor water quality. In response, the groups will run a new regional effort called the Great Lakes Water Innovation and Stewardship Exchange, or Great Lakes WISE. It is a business-led forum for deepening peer-to-peer conversations, policy research, and advocacy about water resources protection, best practices and challenges requiring leadership and action by corporations and government in the region.
“Companies headquartered in the Great Lakes may think they are immune to the impact of today’s water challenges, but the vast majority of these companies operate at a global scale,” announced Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of Milwaukee-based TWC, which drives innovation in freshwater technology and water stewardship. “Therefore, they need to look at their entire enterprise and at the same time be cognizant of their global supply chain,” he added.
Mark Fisher, president and CEO of the CGLR, says that his group will work to help TWC grow its WAVE: Water Stewardship Verified program. It’s an initiative that helps companies follow a strategic process to understand their water uses and impacts, assess associated risks across the enterprise and prioritize the highest risks. Fisher said that companies which complete the WAVE will have their water stewardship work verified by an independent third party, SCS Global Services.
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Fisher noted that it’s important for companies to realize that just 1% of the Great Lakes are renewed annually by precipitation, runoff and groundwater, and water systems above and below ground are constantly at risk of pollution and depletion, with a rapidly changing climate worsening water stress.
The Great Lakes provide drinking water to more than 40 million people, and are vital to much of the region’s economic activity.
This article appears in ES&E Magazine’s August 2022 issue: