Episode 7: A Better Understanding of Water Stewardship: From Addressing Shared Opportunities to More Credible Corporate Reporting


What is water stewardship and how does that translate into brand value for a corporation? A better understanding of all aspects of water stewardship will lead corporates to sustainably use water within their four walls, but also leverage what they do best in the marketplace to address shared water-related challenges outside their fence-line. Often times corporates overlook the social and governance aspects of true water stewardship because addressing those challenges and opportunities may seem outside the bounds of the traditional business value proposition. It is in that space of action, however, where brand value is enhanced and transformative change can occur to the health of a given watershed. As ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Reporting proliferates, there is an opportunity for true corporate water stewards to be rewarded for credible water stewardship actions. To unpack these complex issues, The Water Council’s Matt Howard welcomes water strategist Will Sarni to kick the tires on some wicked water problems and explore how ‘doing good’ makes for doing good business.



Will Sarni is an internationally recognized thought leader on water strategy and innovation. He was ranked as; A Key Player Pressuring Businesses to Care About Water and one of the Top 15 Interviews In Smart Water Magazine 2019. He has been a sustainability and water strategy advisor to multinationals, water technology companies, investors and non-governmental organizations for his entire career. Will works with multinationals on corporate water strategies, water technology innovation and water market entry strategies. His work with water technology companies is as a strategy advisor and investor.

Prior to Water Foundry, Will was a Managing Director at Deloitte Consulting and founded and led the water strategy practice. He was the founder and CEO of DOMANI, a sustainability strategy firm, prior to Deloitte.

As a seasoned author, Will has written numerous books and articles and continues to present on subjects such as the value of water, innovations in digital water technology, the circular economy, and the energy-water-food nexus. He is the author of: “Corporate Water Strategies” (Earthscan 2011, and in Chinese by Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press 2013); “Water Tech – A Guide to Investment, Innovation and Business Opportunities in the Water Sector” (Sarni, W. and Pechet, T., Routledge 2013); “Beyond the Energy – Water – Food Nexus: New Strategies for 21st Century Growth” (Dō Sustainability 2015), and his latest books “Water Stewardship and Business Value: Creating Abundance from Scarcity” (Sarni, W., and Grant, D., Routledge 2018) and “Creating 21st Century Abundance through Public Policy Innovation: Moving Beyond Business as Usual” (Sarni, W. and Koch, G., Greenleaf Publishing 2018). He is currently working on “Digital Water: New Technologies for a More Resilient, Secure and Equitable Water Future” (Routledge, 2021).

Will is a co-founder of WetDATA.org and a Board Member of Flowater, Silver Bullet, Project WET and the Rocky Mountain Rowing Club. He is the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for the WAITRO Global Water Innovation Summit 2020, on the Executive Council of NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS); Editorial Board of the Journal of Water Security and a Technical Advisor for the Climate Bonds Initiative: Nature- Based Solutions for Climate and Water Resilience. He was an Advisor to the 2020 X-PRIZE, Infinity Water Prize, the Bold Visioneer for the 2016 X-PRIZE Safe Drinking Water Team and was on the Scientific Program Committee for Stockholm World Water Week from 2013 through 2019.




Matt Howard oversees The Water Council’s sustainability and stewardship initiatives, which include its regional partnership and oversight of the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s International Water Stewardship Standard (“AWS Standard”) and System in North America. In this capacity, Matt serves as the Director for AWS North America. He has 15 years in sustainability program development and management, including five years as Milwaukee’s Sustainability Director. Matt came to Milwaukee from Washington, DC where he worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce and spent time as a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives. He earned an MA from George Washington University and a BA from Valparaiso University. He is an AWS and Lean Six Sigma accredited professional and currently serves on the WELL Water Advisory and the Wisconsin Governor’s Wetlands Study Council. He served on the US EPA’s National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology from 2014-2019.


for further reading

Does Water Stewardship Lead to Brand Value?

A corporate water strategy manifesto: We can and will do better


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Major support is also provided by:
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation | Corvias

Additional funding is also provided by:
Badger Meter | Baird | Fund for Lake Michigan | Evoqua | Kikkoman
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District | Quality Water Products | SCS Global

This post was tagged under: ESG, Podcast, Stewardship, Sustainability