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Making Waves: Transforming Business with Action on Water

Tuesday 2nd July marked the inaugural WaterAid Presents event, held in collaboration with Hogan Lovells as part of their ESG Game Changer series, including a keynote and two panels packed with insights and stories from the business world. The theme of the evening was “Making Waves: Transforming Business with Action on Water.”

The event was held at Hogan Lovells central London offices, with stunning panoramic views of the city’s central square mile. Belu mineral water was served to speakers and guests, with attendees from across the water sector, charities and global businesses.

A call for courage

Our co-CEO, Natalie Campbell MBE, kicked off the event with a powerful keynote conversation with Robert Gardener, Director of Government Affairs at Hogan Lovells. Her message to leaders was clear: Be Courageous. This set the tone for the evening, emphasising the need for decisive and brave action in addressing water-related challenges not only within businesses but wider communities and some of the world’s busiest cities.

Belu co-CEO Natalie Campbell MBE

Insights from industry leaders

The event featured two panels discussing the business case for accelerating action on water and the importance of reframing water investment.

Here are some of our highlights from the speakers:

Ida Aagenaes from Unilever emphasized that Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) are integral to Unilever’s value chain. Her remarks highlighted the company’s commitment to sustainable water management and its impact on global communities.

Lewys Isaac from Primark discussed the dual risks associated with water quality and quantity. He noted the increasing pressure on businesses to consider the impacts on nature and people, underscoring the importance of sustainable water practices.

Patricia Calderon from CDP pointed out that the cost of taking action on water issues is significantly lower than the inevitable cost of inaction. She also cited a concerning statistic: only 21% of companies surveyed by CDP have WASH policies in place.

Kate Holme from WaterAid highlighted the crucial role of governments as key duty bearers. She stressed the need for collaboration between businesses and governments in policymaking to ensure sustainable water management.

Alex Adam from The Rivers Trust shared that rivers are indicators of the overall health of the landscape. Alex shed light on the importance of protecting and preserving our waterways as vital to ensuring ecosystems thrive.

Lylah Davies from OECD made a compelling argument for the economic benefits of investing in water. She warned that undervaluing water-related risks, such as contamination, can lead to catastrophic consequences for economies.

Martin Shouler from Arup delivered a poignant statement that resonated with everyone: “Water connects, it’s a vital necessity.” He also mentioned the City Water Resilience Approach, a global collaboration between businesses in cities, aimed at enhancing urban water resilience.
More on that here: https://www.arup.com/insights/the-city-water-resilience-approach/

Bringing together businesses that care

Wrapping everything up.. we’re very glad to have attended and the event was a resounding success, thanks to the efforts of WaterAid and Hogan Lovells. It provided a platform for those working in all aspects of the water industry and large global businesses to share their insights and for attendees to engage in meaningful discussions about the future of water management at varying scales.

We are inspired by the collective commitment to making waves in transforming business practices with action on water. It’s clear to us that collaboration and courageous leadership are essential in addressing the water challenges that lie ahead and that water is something which we are all impacted by every single day.

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