World Business Council for Sustainable Development

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Industry, Fresh Water and Sustainable Development



Industry, Fresh Water, and Sustainable Development is published jointly by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The growing demands for water for human consumption, agriculture and industry means that fresh water must not be taken for granted, but be carefully used.

Industry has an important part to play in this, and our report looks at what industry is doing to improve and increase the supply and quality of fresh water.

The report presents case studies showing business has the technical and managerial skills, and financial resources to produce more goods and services using less water. It also can play an important role in the way society manages its finite fresh water resources.

But industry is only one player in this important issue. Agriculture and urban centers are far the largest users of fresh water, and generate far more pollution. Business cannot solve the problems alone.

The report states that governments should phase out inappropriate subsidies and set the price for water at a level which reflects full-cost recovery in order to encourage less wasteful consumption, more recycling and reuse of water. Also, the framework conditions must be laid down by governments to allow increased private investment to supply the water needs of communities.

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