Skip to main content
kenya waterfall

The global water crisis continues to churn, with climate change driving unforeseen weather conditions that have led to droughts, floods, and damaging storms. The urgency of the moment is reflected in the headlines: Record flooding in California has given the drought-stricken state a temporary reprieve; France and Italy are bracing for water scarcity this growing season after a lackluster snow total this winter; and the EPA has proposed new limits to the amount of PFAS in municipal drinking water.

At the heart of each of those headlines is the same topic: water stewardship.

How we care for our water will significantly impact the global community across the coming decades. Fortunately, there are already organizations who are committed to being strong stewards of our most precious natural resource. 

As we observe World Water Day this year, we wanted to focus our attention on the good work being done by corporations committed to water stewardship.


The CEO Water Mandate

In the summer of 2007, a group of corporate executives met at a UN Leaders Summit and launched the CEO Water Mandate, an initiative that brought private and public entities together “with a focus on developing strategies and solutions to contribute positively to the emerging global water crisis.”

Since its inception, 240 member organizations of the UN Global Compact have endorsed the visions and objectives of the CEO Water Mandate. These companies have agreed to review water usage within their organizations as it relates to direct operations, supply chain, and watershed management.

This is just one of the actions spurring corporate leaders around the globe to take ownership of their role in ensuring access to safe, clean water.


The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)

The AWS Standard was developed through a four-year global, multi-stakeholder consultation seeking a framework that could be implemented by any site, in any sector, in any catchment around the world.

AWS is a global membership collaboration comprising businesses, NGOs and the public sector. They contribute to the sustainability of local water-resources through their adoption and promotion of a universal framework for the sustainable use of water – the International Water Stewardship Standard, or AWS Standard – that drives, recognizes and rewards good water stewardship performance. Their mission is to ignite and nurture global and local leadership in credible water stewardship that recognizes and secures the social, cultural, environmental and economic value of freshwater. Our global Associates and many multi-national corporations use this framework, and Inogen Alliance is an official sponsor of the AWS Forum event in Scotland.

Leaders in Corporate Water Stewardship

From a broad range of industries, these leaders are demonstrating that corporations can enact policies and practices that make a difference.

1. Anheuser-Busch

Industry: Beverage

Location: United States

What they’re doing: As a beverage company, Anheuser-Busch understands the importance of drinkable water, both at the corporate and community level. They have committed to improving watersheds in the communities around the globe where they have a presence, ensuring the security and longevity of aquifers they access, and helping others who access those same resources enact more sustainable practices, such as converting local farms to drip irrigation solutions that use water more efficiently.

2. General Mills

Industry: Food Producers

Location: United States

What they’re doing: General Mills has launched a regenerative agriculture pilot program in the state of Kansas. In conjunction with Ecotone Analytics, they conducted an impact study to determine the social return on investment for the project. The findings show an incredible 400% return, with benefits including reduced soil erosion, increased carbon sequestration, and improved surface water quality.


3. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

Industry: Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology

Location: United Kingdom

What they’re doing: Working with the Water Resilience Coalition, GSK has identified eight water basins in water-stressed regions where they have a presence, and are working toward water neutrality at those locations. Their site in Cape Town, South Africa, has reduced water usage from the municipal supply by 12% over five years. GSK has a goal of being completely water neutral at their own operations and within key suppliers in stressed regions by 2030.


4. Woolworths Holdings

Industry: General Retailers

Location: South Africa

What they’re doing: Cotton is a significant resource for Woolworth’s fashion divisions. As such, they have committed to reducing water waste across their value chain by working with farmers to enact sustainable cotton farming practices through organizations such as Better Cotton, which “promote the usage of less water and fewer chemicals when growing and harvesting the cotton.”

There are also a great number of chemicals used in the production of textiles – some quite hazardous, which threaten water quality. Woolworths has eliminated hazardous chemicals from 97% of their products, including textiles.


5. Kurita Water Industries Ltd.

Industry: Industrial Engineering

Location: Japan

What they’re doing: Kurita is at the forefront of water stewardship, having had a hand in water treatment since the 1950s. They have committed to reducing water waste for their customers through innovation and systems that more efficiently circulate water as well as wastewater collection and cleaning. They have optimized a water recovery treatment process that enabled them to recover 70% of the water used in certain processes.


6. Coca-Cola Company

Industry: Beverages

Location: United States

What they’re doing: In 2009 Coca-Cola launched the RAIN program, developing a network of more than 300 public and private partners working to address water needs at the community level. Since then, RAIN has worked on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects that have impacted the lives of 6 million people across 41 countries and territories. Their key focus is on watershed protection, productive use of water, and WASH access.


7. Danone

Industry: Food Producers

Location: France

What they’re doing: Danone has also taken a localized approach to water stewardship. Based on analysis of local water cycles by hydrogeological experts deployed in areas deemed a priority for water conservation, they have been able to create site-specific action plans that:

  • Preserve water resources throughout its value chain.
  • Rethink circularity within and around the production sites.
  • Provide access to safe drinking water for vulnerable people and communities.

One of their first steps is working in partnership with farmers to promote regenerative agriculture practices that foster healthy ecosystems and work with the local watershed.


8. Levi-Strauss

Industry: Personal Goods

Location: United States

What they’re doing: Levi-Strauss has been working since 2010 on their Water<Less® initiative, which optimizes water use in apparel production. They also are working collaboratively with other organizations in their industry and beyond by sharing their Water Action Strategy open-source.

Their 2025 Water Action Strategy includes goals to create water usage efficiencies across all operations, not simply those in water-stress regions.


9. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)

Industry: Travel & Leisure

Location: United Kingdom

What they’re doing: As a member of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), IHG has been able to work collaboratively with other organizations to “collectively advance water stewardship and preserve the world’s fresh water.” Their hotels have seen a reduction in water usage, and in 2021, they worked with to deliver quality access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for communities in India, Indonesia, and Mexico.

10. Ecolab

Industry: Support Services

Location: United States

What they’re doing: As an industry steeped in water-related products and services, Ecolab has long been tuned in to the global need for waste reduction and water conservation. As founding members of the Water Resilience Coalition and the Alliance for Water Stewardship, Ecolab strives to work not only internally but with customers as well to improve water use efficiencies.  In 2021 alone, Ecolab worked with their customers to conserve more than 215 billion gallons of water.

Ecolab’s goal is to restore more than 50% of their total water withdrawal by 2030.


11. Kimberly-Clark

Industry: Paper-based products

Location: United States

What they’re doing: Kimberly-Clark mills require considerable amounts of water for the production of their paper-based consumer goods. High water demands coupled with Kimberly-Clark's ambitious water security milestones have led to the development of WaterLOUPE, an innovative, open-source water-risk and water availability screening tool, which aims to be rolled out to all manufacturing facilities as well as local watershed Stakeholders.

12. L’Oréal

Industry: Cosmetics

Location: France

What they’re doing: As one of the largest cosmetics companies in the world, l'Oréal has also been amongst the leading companies in the sector to promote innovative water-reduction strategies. By launching the concept of a dry factory, in which potable water is used only in the composition of the products and for human consumption, by 2030 l'Oréal aims to recycle and reuse water used in industrial processes by 100%. Currently, l'Oréal has three dry factories at Burgos in Spain, Vorsino in Russia, and Settimo Torinese in Italy, all of which are inspiring ideas for other plants around the world.


Inogen Alliance is a global network made up of dozens of independent local businesses and over 5,000 consultants around the world who can help make your project a success. Our Associates collaborate closely to serve multinational corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations, and we share knowledge and industry experience to provide the highest quality service to our clients. If you want to learn more about how you can work with Inogen Alliance, you can explore our Associates or Contact Us. Watch for more News & Blog updates here and follow us on LinkedIn.