Bringing A Human Rights Lens to Corporate Water Stewardship

The UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate, Shift and the Pacific Institute have developed guidance for companies on respecting the human rights to water and sanitation available in PDF here or as a web-based tool here

In 2010, the UN Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly formally recognized the human rights to water and sanitation (HRWS). With the subsequent endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles in 2011, CEO Water Mandate endorsing companies saw an opportune moment for the development of practical guidance on how business can meet its responsibility to respect the HRWS. In particular, guidance was needed to help companies understand the implications of bringing a human rights lens to their evolving corporate water stewardship practices.

To meet this need, the CEO Water Mandate, together with project partners, Shift and the Pacific Institute, and with input from Oxfam America, developed practical guidance for businesses on implementing their responsibility to respect the human rights to water and sanitation. The guidance was released in beta form in January 2015. The project also benefitted from inputs from a multistakeholder Technical Expert Group.

The first, exploratory phase of the project, completed in 2012, involved identifying international and national legal trends relating to the HRWS, illustrating some of the current challenges businesses face in respecting these rights, as well as the perspectives of potentially affected communities, and lastly identifying areas of potential synergy with companies’ existing water stewardship efforts. It resulted in an initial report, available on this page. The second phase involved development of the guidance, with significant input from Mandate endorsing companies and expert stakeholders, on how to implement respect for the HRWS in practice.

Cover photo above copyright Mulecan at Thinkstock.