Why Water Sustainability Is Central to the Success of the SDGs

Latest GRI podcast explores role of business in water management
Jan 4, 2022 8:15 AM ET
desk seen from above with laptop, headphones, and phone playing "SDGs: The Rising Tide" podcast

What are the strategies and practical solutions that businesses and institutions can implement the world over, to ensure that water – the most precious resource on Earth – is managed sustainably?

Global leaders in sustainable development address this fundamental question and make the case for concerted action to help ensure availability and access for all to water and sanitation services in a new episode of SDGs: The Rising Tide. This podcast series from GRI explores corporate innovation in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

The episode features two experts in water management - Dennis van Peppen, International Water Programmes Team Lead at the Netherlands Enterprise and Development Agency, and Chong Mien Ling, Chief Sustainability Officer with the Singapore National Water Agency. They discuss the importance of a global water agenda and the role of business in its implementation.

Dennis van Peppen frames the challenge facing the global community, and why such an important agenda is not receiving sufficient focus at the moment:

“In many places of the world, we are reaching the limits of our water resources. We urgently need a global water agenda, which simply does not exist. Climate has become a matter of survival for humanity and is being recognized as such, but there is less of a sense of urgency when it comes to water and the challenges associated with water management. Only those people who are working on the inside can clearly comprehend the crisis on the horizon.”

Chong Mien Ling sets out how Singapore’s historical and geographic context, in which it relied on water imports from Malaysia, has led to a more innovative approach to securing water supplies of their own:

“Singapore is one of the most water stressed countries in the world. We quickly realized that we simply could not continue with business as usual. At the same time, we started to look into innovative technologies out there to help us reduce the amount of energy required in all processes linked to water management. In the end, we learned that small things can make a big difference.”

The first six episodes of The Rising Tide can be accessed now on Spotify, Apple, and Google podcast. GRI would like to thank the Government of Sweden for supporting this project through the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

GRI provides organizations with free resources and tools on how to integrate the SDGs into their sustainability reporting. Recent publications include Linking the SDGs and the GRI Standards and Using Corporate Reporting to Strengthen the SDGs - a set of recommendations for policy makers.

In December, GRI shared two insight reports from the  Business Leadership Forum on Corporate Reporting on the SDGs. An online course on Integrating the SDGs into sustainability reporting is also available as part of the GRI Academy. 

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the independent, international organization that helps businesses and other organizations take responsibility for their impacts, by providing the global common language to report those impacts. The GRI Standards are developed through a multi-stakeholder process and provided as a free public good.