Business is part of the solution
Some industries have successfully integrated water strategy across their operations. The case studies illustrate a range of business case studies from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) member companies, detailing where, how and why corporations have leveraged their business experience and expertise to reduce their impacts whilst improving their bottom line and securing their licence to operate.
The role of business goes beyond financial assistance and includes offering solutions linked to technology transfer, capacity building and water stewardship.
The business case
Operating in a region in Mexico with high water scarcity risk, Volkswagen decided in 2008 to engage in a multi- stakeholder reforestation program in the region surrounding its factories to allow the ecosystem’s water provisioning function to be restored.
Reliable water supply, a crucial condition for industry operations
Car manufacturer Volkswagen operates a factory in the Puebla Tlaxcala valley in Mexico, a region where the water-supply situation is particularly critical. Although the waste water Volkswagen produces is treated and recycled, it has been obvious for years that there would not be enough fresh water for the growing city of Puebla and the industrial area nearby. In this context, securing a reliable water supply was critical for Volkswagen to ensure the stability of its production.
The business case
Highly dependent on water availability for its operations, Mondi leads a multi-stakeholder wetland restoration program in South Africa. The program has resulted in the loss of commercial forest for Mondi, a cost that is, nevertheless, part of the company’s social and environmental license to operate.
A high water dependency Mondi, an integrated paper and packaging producer, owns plantations in South Africa, a part of the world where fresh water is a scarce resource and where an estimated 6 million people do not have access to sufficient potable water to satisfy their needs. Furthermore, an estimated 55% of South Africa’s wetlands to date have been significantly damaged due to poorly managed agriculture and commercial forestry; mining, urban development, pollution, dam building, erosion and fire. Because Mondi’s commercial activities (commercial forests and processing plants) use significant volumes of water, it relies on healthy wetlands and riparian zones.