How major companies are responding to water scarcity with innovation, collaborative, and a long-term view

An ongoing abundance of clean, inexpensive water is no longer a given. For major companies around the world, water risk is becoming central to business strategy. A recent survey released by the Pacific Institute and VOX Global, of 50 major U.S. corporations including AT&T, Cummins, Inc., The Hershey Company, and MillerCoors, reveals that most companies believe water challenges will significantly worsen in the next five years.

As John Viera, Ford’s global director of sustainability & vehicle environmental matters clearly states, “Water is a resource that we absolutely need, and if we don’t embed the proper and efficient use of water now, it will cause a big problem in the future.”

So how are some of the big brands addressing the challenge? The three articles below give an overview of the various approaches being undertaken by Anheuser-Busch InBev, Ford, and Walmart-owned UK supermarket chain Asda.

ABInBevAB InBev Working with Growers to Optimize Water Management, Barley Production
As a company that relies heavily on water for production, Anheuser-Busch InBev is rightly investing a great deal of time, thought and money into water management. “We are responsible for buying and using almost a quarter of the world’s malt and barley,” John Rogers, Global Manager of Agricultural Development at AB InBev, said in a recent interview.

Along with its significant water reduction, risk management, and watershed protection goals, Anheuser-Busch InBev is using collaborative technology such as SmartBarley, a farm-level benchmarking tool that the company piloted last year that enables growers to improve crop management practices to increase productivity and reduce their footprint. Water-related indicators are available through the iPad-based tool. Read article.

Ford-logo-and-slogan-1024x768How Ford is motoring ahead with a water scarcity strategy
At Ford, the company has developed a corporate water strategy that goes beyond reduction and recognizes water supply as a fundamental business risk.

“We’ve moved beyond merely reducing the water footprint of our facilities,” said Ford’s John Fleming, executive vice president of global manufacturing & labor affairs. “We are addressing water concerns in our supply chain and in our broader communities.” Read article.

95% of Asda’s fresh produce is at risk from climate change. So, what’s it going to do about it?
Climate change risks are enormous for UK-based Asda who found that a staggering 95% of its fresh produce category is under threat from the impacts of a changing climate. The company is also taking a collaborative approach with its supply chain.  Sustain & Save Exchange, its online collaboration platform hosted and facilitated by 2degrees, is encouraging suppliers to become more efficient. Read article.

You don’t have to be in the Fortune 500 to embed water risk into your business strategy. If you are a business operating in states and regions of water stress and scarcity, this recent GreenBiz article, How business can take action on the California water crisis, provides tips for businesses that you can implement now.