Scaling-up WASH action in Companies' Supply Chains: Promoting Sustainable Growth

Thursday 01 September | 11.00-12.30 | Room: NL Pillar Hall
Photo credit: WaterAid

Over recent years, there have been a number of initiatives to support action on WASH in companies’ operations. However, to meet the ambition of the SDGs and achieve universal and equitable WASH access for all by 2030 there needs to be a step change in corporate action on WASH; companies need to look beyond their own operations and into their supply chains. Access to WASH is a key requirement for employee health and safety and therefore for sustainable economic growth, yet WASH at work has not yet received the same focus as health and education facilities from governments or NGOs. Participants of the session ‘Accelerating Corporate Action on WASH’ co-convened by the CEO Water Mandate, WaterAid and WBCSD at World Water Week 2015 identified a number of practical challenges to taking action in supply chains as well as a lack of clarity on business' role in supporting and catalysing government. In response, the three organisations are undertaking research to understand current obstacles to improving WASH in companies’ supply chains and developing guidance and tools to help improve WASH. This interactive event will share and test research findings while enabling participants to provide input into the development of guidance and tools. 


11:00 Welcome and introduction by chair and moderator

Cecilia Chatterjee-Martinsen, WaterAid Sweden 

11:05 Presentation of findings from collaborative action research project by Mai-Lan Ha, CEO Water Mandate and Tatiana Fedotova, WBCSD 

11:20 Panel discussion on challenges to action in corporate supply chains and potential solutions

  • Nick Hepworth, WaterWitness International: Opportunities to drive improvements in WASH through water stewardship
  • Jeffrey Eisenbraun, ILO Better Work: Driving supply chain standards through stakeholder engagement in the garment sector 
  • Lisa Hook, Gap: Addressing WASH with Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers: from audits and well-being programmes to community engagement

11:45 Facilitated breakout discussion: Mapping solutions to address WASH in supply chains; identifying support and guidance needed

12:10 Facilitated panel discussion: feedback from breakout discussions and discussion on way forward

  • Michael Alexander, Diageo
  • Chris Brown, Olam
  • Lisa Hook, Gap 

12:25 Conclusions, next steps, ways to get involved and close