(Geneva, 5 July 2007) – In an extraordinary call to action, a group of chief executive officers representing some of the world’s largest corporations today urged their business peers everywhere to take immediate action to address the emerging global water crisis.
The CEOs of six corporations – The Coca-Cola Company, Levi Strauss & Co., Läckeby Water Group, Nestlé S.A., SABMiller, and Suez – announced their call to action at the 2007 Global Compact Leaders Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, where they launched “The CEO Water Mandate” – a project designed to help companies better manage water use in their direct operations and throughout their supply chains.
“There is huge potential for the private sector to make a real, positive and lasting difference in protecting and preserving fresh-water resources,” said E. Neville Isdell, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. "We are pleased to come together with other business leaders to endorse the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate as another indicator of our desire to establish a truly water-sustainable business on a global scale”.
According to the Human Development Report 2006, a water crisis is deepening around the world. More than 1 billion people lack clean water for drinking, and 2.6 billion lack sanitation. Water experts predict that the situation will worsen in many parts of the world in the coming decades as a result of factors including urbanization and population growth, increasing food production, changing consumption patterns, industrialization, pollution, and climate change.
As the six business leaders state in The CEO Water Mandate: “It is increasingly clear that lack of access to clean water and sanitation in many parts of the world causes great suffering in humanitarian, social, environmental, and economic terms and seriously undermines development goals. The private sector has an important stake in helping to address the water challenge faced by the world today”.
The CEO Water Mandate asks companies to make progress in six areas: direct operations, supply chain and watershed management, collective action, public policy, community engagement, and transparency.
More specifically, endorsers of The CEO Water Mandate pledge to set water-use targets, assist suppliers with water-efficiency practices and partner with governments, policy makers and community groups to address water shortages and sanitation.
The CEO Water Mandate was developed in partnership with the UN Global Compact and the Government of Sweden. The six endorsing CEOs are: E. Neville Isdell, The Coca-Cola Company; John Anderson, Levi Strauss & Co.; Martin Hagbyhn, Läckeby Water Group; Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Nestlé S.A.; Graham Mackay, SABMiller; and Gérard Mestrallet, Suez. Both Mr. Isdell and Mr. Hagbyhn are attending the Global Compact Leaders Summit.
The CEO Water Mandate can be downloaded at: www.unglobalcompact.org/Issues/Environment/Water_sustainability/index.html
UN Global Compact:
Mr Gavin Power
Senior Advisor and Head of Public Affairs
UN Global Compact
+1 917 679 8144
+41 79 629 4482
For interview requests with Mr. E. Neville Isdell, The Coca-Cola Company, please contact:
Director of Environmental Communication
Läckeby Water Group:
Mr. Martin Hagbyhn, Läckeby Water Group.
About the United Nations Global Compact:
Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact brings business together with UN agencies, labor, civil society and governments to advance ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to mainstream these ten principles in business activities around the world and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With over 3,100 participating companies and hundreds of other stakeholders from more than 100 countries, it is the world's largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative. For more information, please visit www.unglobalcompact.org.
About the Global Compact Leaders Summit:
On 5-6 July 2007, the United Nations is convening history's largest and most significant event on the topic of leadership and corporate responsibility. Chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and featuring an international roster of business leaders, government ministers, and heads of civil society, the Global Compact Leaders Summit is above all about building the markets of tomorrow. For more information please go to www.globalcompactsummit.org. For webcasts of the Leaders Summit’s plenary sessions please visit www.un.org/webcast/globalcompact.
# ### #