A Sharper Focus on Water Risk

By Dean Amhaus, President & CEO

We’ve finally (almost) made it to summer, but at The Water Council we are already thinking about autumn as we plan our 2022 Water Leaders Summit.

The event, scheduled for Oct. 5-6, marks our first in-person summit in three years. We’re excited to welcome you to a brand-new event space at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This year’s theme is “Unifying Innovation & Stewardship,” emphasizing the importance of both concepts in preserving freshwater resources.

Registration is now open with early-bird pricing through June 17. Visit our website to register and learn more about our sponsorship options. We thank platinum sponsors A. O. Smith Corporation, Badger Meter, Baird and Watts Water Technologies along with all the other sponsors that have already committed.

Understanding Water Risk

It’s becoming clearer every day that water risks are a huge liability for companies and investors (not to mention the planet), highlighted by two reports issued in recent weeks.

The first comes from Ceres and states that industry has “chronically undervalued and undermanaged global freshwater,” as President and CEO Mindy Lubber explains in a Forbes article.

“Despite clear evidence, too few institutional investors have treated water as seriously as they have climate change. In reality, the two are closely interlinked, with climate change acting as a threat multiplier that directly impacts the global water cycle and distribution and availability of freshwater around the world.”
-Ceres President and CEO Mindy Lubber

Meanwhile, CDP and Planet Tracker report that financial institutions are exposed through their business investments to significant risk posed by depleted and contaminated water supplies. “Companies are already losing billions in revenue due to failing to factor water security into short, medium and long-term strategic decision making,” says Cate Lamb, CDP’s global director of water security. “Financial institutions need to understand how exposed they are to these risks and take immediate steps before it’s too late.”

Our Growing Stewardship Work

I’m more convinced than ever that our new water stewardship program, WAVE, launched at precisely the right moment. WAVE helps companies improve water stewardship performance and credibly tell their stewardship story. Efforts are independently verified by SCS Global Services to eliminate concerns about “greenwashing.”

We announced our first official WAVE client, Sloan, last month, and we’re in advanced talks with several other companies. We are also working on partnerships with like-minded organizations to spread the word about WAVE and water stewardship. Expect more news on that front soon.

WAVE is just one of the ways we advance water stewardship at The Water Council. Another way is through professional training. We are offering our first Comprehensive Water Stewardship Training on June 15-17. These virtual sessions will explain water stewardship in principle and practice from the board room to the shop floor. It’s solid, practical information for corporate sustainability leaders, consultants, investors and others interested in good corporate water stewardship. Click here to register.

Innovation Update

This year’s BREW 2.0 Post-Accelerator continues at full steam. We’ve now completed one week of virtual training on topics like business culture, marketing and talent. The 10 companies in this year’s cohort will introduce their innovations at a virtual Demo Day June 23. Click here to register or contact Karen Frost for more details.

We also recently closed our spring Tech Challenge, with entries coming from eight countries around the world. Our next Tech Challenge will launch in fall, so check back then for the next set of topics.

Finally, Karen Frost, our vice president of economic development and innovation, and Beverley Ferrara, our European representative, will travel to Munich, Germany, at the end of the month for IFAT, a worldwide trade fair for environmental technologies. Our growing international work helps promote water technology innovation around the world and benefits our overseas and U.S. members as our network and connections grow.

Hello, Good-bye

Speaking of growing connections, I’d like to welcome new member WaterWebTools and new Water Champion KPMG. Welcome to the hub where water works!

Regardless of whether you are a water technology company or company committed to demonstrating your support of The Water Council, we have a membership for you. Learn more about how you can increase your engagement in water.

I’d like to end by sending my best wishes to Dylan Waldhuetter, our director of water stewardship solutions, who will be leaving The Water Council at the end of May. Dylan started with us as an intern six years ago and has been integral to building our water stewardship offerings. Happily, he’s staying in the water industry, so we expect to run into him often.

Meanwhile, we now have an opening for a water stewardship solutions manager. The ideal candidate has at least one or two years’ experience in the water industry and a relevant graduate degree. Please contact Matt Howard if you know of any candidates.

We’ll miss you, Dylan!

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Woman in sunglasses and yellow lifevest paddles a blue kayak down the Milwaukee River with downtown buildings in the background
Photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee