International Water Experts Meet held in Mumbai

Press Release

The UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate convened a three day (March 5-7) International conference in Mumbai, India, to explore how the global business community can positively contribute to the growing global and regional water and sanitation challenges – especially with respect to the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Approximately 160 leaders from business, civil society, UN agencies, and other groups gathered to discuss collaborative approaches to water and sanitation problems. The event – “Corporate Water Stewardship and the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Drawing from the India Experience’’ – constituted one of the United Nations’ formal consultations with respect to the Post-2015 process which seeks to identify critical development objectives and possibly formulate new Sustainable Development Goals. The event was live-streamed to the UN’s official website devoted to the formal UN water consultations.

Mr Gavin Power, Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact, and Head of the CEO Water Mandate, opened the conference, noting that the business community has a historic opportunity to contribute positively to a major UN process that will shape the world’s sustainable development trajectory.
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“Increasingly, the business community recognizes that issues related to water scarcity, water quality and sanitation present a range of risks”, Mr Power said. “Through initiatives such as the CEO Water Mandate, companies can contribute to solutions in collaboration with the broader international community”.

Tata Steel Ltd, one of the endorsers of the CEO Water Mandate and Principal sponsor of this event, highlighted the need for urgent action in India, where freshwater demand is projected to outstrip supply by 50 percent in 2030.

“Water is going to be the key issue of sustenance for individuals as well as for corporate groups and we must put our efforts jointly for the conservation of water for a better future.”, said Mr. A M Mishra (VP Shared Services, Tata Steel), while addressing the gathering. The time to put our collective wisdom to work in making a visible and tangible difference in the lives of millions is now—water must have our urgent and undivided attention.

Endorsers of the CEO Water Mandate (www.ceowatermandate.org) commit to developing and implementing policies and practices in relation to six core areas – direct operations; supply chain/watershed; community engagement; public policy; and transparency.

During the conference participants highlighted the need for companies to seek water efficiencies in their supply chains, especially in relation to agriculture, the largest user of freshwater. India, for example, is one of the world’s highest per capita water users in farming – underscoring the need for greater efficiencies through systems such as drip irrigation.

At the same time, attendees stressed the need for better national and municipal water governance by public authorities, including integrated national water strategies that focus on the water-energy-food nexus.

Dr. Anjali Parasnis, Associate Director of the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and one of the session speakers, said that trends related to population growth, industrialization, urbanization, and climate change will exacerbate water stress and scarcity in the coming years and decades, and stressed the need for the international community to make water security a priority.

Hindustan Construction Company was the co-sponsor of the event.

Established in 1907 as Asia’s first integrated private sector steel company, Tata Steel Group is among the leading steel manufacturers in the world with an annual crude steel capacity of over 26.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). It is now the world’s second-most geographically-diversified steel producer, with operations in 26 countries and a commercial presence in over 50 countries. The Tata Steel Group, with a turnover of US$ 26.13 billion in FY ’12, has over 80,000 employees across five continents and is a Fortune 500 company. The Group’s vision is to be the world’s steel industry benchmark in “Value Creation” and “Corporate Citizenship” through the excellence of its people, its innovative approach and overall conduct. In 2008, Tata Steel India became the first integrated steel plant in the world, outside Japan, to be awarded the Deming Application Prize 2008 for excellence in Total Quality Management. In 2012, Tata Steel became the first integrated steel company in the world to win the Deming Grand Prize 2012 instituted by the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers.

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