The guide, created by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and SustainAbility, is specifically designed to help businesses identify the water tools and initiatives most suitable for their needs and environmental sustainability.

The WBCSD said the guide will help businesses use water more effectively and support their efforts in adopting more sustainable solutions in partnership with other stakeholders.

Director of WBCSD Water, Joppe Cramwinckel, said: “This is an essential guide for business, especially when you consider that 80% of the global population now lives in areas where the threat to water security is high.

“That, coupled with the spread of industrial and agricultural activity, is putting additional stress on local aquifers. So businesses need to have frameworks within which they can measure, manage and assess their impacts, especially those moving into emerging markets”.

The guide, called Water for Business, outlines the benefits of the different tools available, illustrates how a combination of complementary tools can best meet wide ranging needs, and helps businesses to manage the complexity of water-related challenges.

James Dalton from IUCN Global Water Programme said: “Business has a leading role to play in the management of natural resources, especially in the use of freshwater resources, for which there exists no substitute”.

“We rely on water to grow our food, produce our goods, and generate our energy.”

The first version of the guide was released in 2009. This current edition is the third, and latest, version.

Leigh Stringer

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