Impacts on business continuity, industry processes, environmental and economic assets from water, weather and climate challenges occur at different scales and on different timescales. The good news is that water risks and their impact can be reduced by taking measures and making changes in processes, practices, systems and structures that respond to both global and local contexts. Solutions lie in protecting and strengthening your business resilience, focussing on sustainable water use and work on good water stewardship.

Improving water efficiency: measure, monitor, target

Water is core to Unilever’s business, essential through their entire value chain - used for everything from the growth of raw materials to the water needed when using Unilever’s products, whether that’s with laundry powders, shampoo or even in your cup of tea. It is also relied on in their manufacturing operations and used daily to run their factories for heating, cooling and cleaning.

“Recognising how precious this resource is, and the impact Unilever has through its scale as a business, over the past 10 years Unilever has made conscious decisions, as part of our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), to reduce their manufacturing water footprint” says Maeve Hall Sustainable Manufacturing Manager - Water & Indradeep Jadhav, Central Engineering Manager - Water, Unilever. “And to date, we’ve achieved 47% reduction, on an intensity and an absolute basis, exceeding our 2020 target by 7%.”

But Unilever won’t stop there. Looking ahead, Unilever has bolder ambitions to continue to drive water efficiency across our manufacturing operations around the world, doing more with less and increasing the amount of water reuse and recycling.

Read Maeve’s and Indradeep’s blog on:
Water at the front and centre of Unilever’s business
We translated sustainability programmes into true financial savings at factory level,for example including energy and chemical savings that come from water efficiency and also focussed on the big difference that hundreds of small actions were having on the environment and people’s lives.

Maeve Hall

Sustainable Manufacturing Manager - Water Unilever

Transitioning to a smarter water society

There are many opportunities for industry to tap into the business potential and benefits of transitioning to a water-secure future. Those that are already on the journey, reporting their environmental performance, potentially have a competitive edge. Dragan Savic, CEO of KWR, gives his take on transitioning to an industrial symbiotic ecosystem, the role of digitalisation and the importance of the human dimension in socialising both.Read Dragan’s blog on cooperation between industry and utilities
There should be a horizontal integration through the digitisation of data from all the different players in the water network to promote efficient water administration. Governance is critical to counter a disjointed approach to water management within utilities and between utilities and industry.

Dragan Savic


Measuring your industry's water security for financial investment

“While the world of investment can seem abstract, the same things that impact the real world, impact investments too. The issue of water security for example: industries can be highly efficient users of water, but that doesn’t mean that their water supply is secure” says Piet Klop, Senior Advisor Responsible Investment at PGGM. An issue like this is important to an investor.

Companies often report on the water they use for their operations, but few report on their exposure to water security as it is outside their control and requires collective action. Exposure to actual or future water risks is often what is missing and could be very valuable information to an investor.

Want to know more?
Read Piet’s blog on the impact of water on financial investments
It is how water scarcity affects their portfolios, that makes investors sit up in their seats and listening.

Piet Klop

Senior Advisor Responsible Investment at PGGM