New Report: Water, Energy and Climate Change: A Contribution from the Business Community

Author: Bevan Griffiths-Sattenspiel

A new report has been released from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development titled Water, Energy and Climate Change: A Contribution from the Business Community. In this report, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development explains how water, energy and climate change are "inextricably linked," and that corporations around the world need to start measuring and reducing their water and energy use in order to remain successful in a changing climate.

Published earlier this month, this timely report does its best to avoid wonkery and present information in visually compelling ways. The report offers 25 case studies showing how a diverse range of businesses--from mining and metals, oil and gas, consumer products, food and beverages, infrastructure services and equipment sectors--are addressing the link between water, energy and climate change.

As reported by GreenBiz.com:

The business community wants solid water, energy and climate change data and analysis tools from policy makers to help them manage risks and make smarter strategic decisions, according to a new report published Thursday.

They also advised policymakers to integrate water, energy and climate change policy in a holistic way that both acknowledges and weighs the synergies and trade-offs existing between the three interconnected issues.

Those are two of the recommendations being offered by dozens of businesses which collaborated with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development for "Water, Energy and Climate Change: A contribution from the business community."

The report, released at the Fifth World Water Forum in Istanbul Thursday, calls for more research and information sharing among academics, government, nonprofits and the private sector to address the challenges that threaten the future livelihoods of many industries.

Businesses want to contribute their expertise to help boost institutional capacity to raise awareness about water, energy and climate linkages in the public and among resource managers. The value of ecosystem services, such as responsibly managed river basins or forests, should also be reflected in decision-making.

"Market mechanisms, such as payments for ecosystem services, trading systems or certification standards, can be powerful complements to existing strategies for conserving ecosystems, if used in the right way," the report said.

The businesses can also help to identify efficient ways of reducing resource consumption, but these efforts are only as good as the support they receive from science, government, civil society and legislation. They called for policy makers to encourage the development of best practices through innovation and community engagement.

The report points to 25 case studies that demonstrate what some of the collaborating companies can bring to the table.

For example, GDF Suez's desalination plant in Perth, Australia, produces 140,000 m3 of drinking water daily -- enough for the area -- using electricity generated by windmills. Sony Corp.'s headquarters in Tokyo uses a high-efficiency heating and cooling system from Tepco that takes advantage of waste heat from a public sewage plant to avoid about 3,500 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

To download the full report, click here.