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Water availability and the ability to discharge it are growing issues for businesses around the world. Water scarcity affects business throughout the value chain, and our changing climate compounds the already difficult scenario. As water scarcity becomes more prevalent across the nation and the world, the risk to industry rises. There is a growing need for a practical tool that can map water use and effectively assess water risks for industries especially global companies and organizations with operations and suppliers in numerous countries. The objective of this paper is to describe an innovative new Global Water Tool developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and its use by and value to global companies and organizations in identifying, prioritizing and managing their water risks.

The “Global Water Tool” is a public-domain and easy-to-use tool that allows companies or organizations to map their water uses and risks relative to water availability in their global operations and supply chains. It was created through collaboration between non-governmental organizations and business water experts including global companies. By integrating above external datasets and company's water use figures, the tool provides numerous benefits to users: (1) Provides an automatic link between a company's global operations and key external waterrelated data; (2) Enables creation of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Water Indicators, inventories, risk and efficiency performance metrics and geographic mapping; (3) Allows companies to establish relative water risks in their portfolios to prioritize action; and (4) Ensures a standard approach and common set of data for global assessments.

Organizations operating or wishing to operate in multiple jurisdictions will find Global Water Tool invaluable in informing strategic decision makers at the corporate and business unit level. Additionally, while water challenges and opportunities occur at the local level, there are advantages for companies in employing a comprehensive, strategic approach to evaluating addressing global water risks.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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