Global brands sign up to international water stewardship standard

Several global organisations, including food companies Nestle and General Mills, have today announced their commitment to the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard, which aims to promote a global framework for sustainable use of freshwater resources.

Launched today, the AWS Standard defines criteria for good water stewardship and has been designed to align with other sustainability initiatives and support independent certification.

According to AWS, organisations can learn what they can do to help protect shared resources, as well as shape the future of water stewardship, by signing up to the standard.

General Mills vice president and chief sustainability officer Jerry Lynch said: “As a global food company, water is critical to General Mills’ business.

“We have an interest and a responsibility to protect the quality and supply of water upon which our business depends, and actively look for ways to collaborate with others to benefit our growers, the community and the environment,” Lynch added.

Nestlé’s water resources, technical and strategic advisor Carlo Galli welcomed the efforts of AWS to promote water stewardship internationally and in assisting companies to manage water-related risk at a site and catchment level.

“The AWS Standard will enable companies to better assess their performance against a defined set of principles, identify opportunities for improvement and take collaborative steps to improve their water use,” added Galli.

Alongside Nestle and General Mills, 27 other leading organisations including FEMSA Foundation, Water Footprint Network, WaterAid, WWF, and The Nature Conservancy have also joined AWS.

WWF global water roundtable director Alexis Morgan said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to help private- and public-sector water users and managers become responsible water stewards, who protect and enhance freshwater resources for people and nature.

“The standard enables companies to demonstrate water stewardship and water risk mitigation to their local communities, investors and suppliers. In doing so, WWF believes that companies will not only safeguard their business, but also demonstrate leadership in conserving fresh water,” added Morgan.

Leigh Stringer

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