It is widely known that the 21st century could be a defining time period in the fight for clean water globally.
Supply chain risk management, and supply chain sustainability initiatives, could make a large impact on easing future conflicts regarding the scarcity of global water resources.
As reported by GreenBiz, large corporations have joined the ranks in the fight for clean water. “Brands such as Apple, Dell, Ericsson and Foxconn have mapped their suppliers’ paths of wastewater discharge, incorporating suppliers’ centralized wastewater treatment facilities into the scope of their environmental compliance screening” (Davies 2018).
Mapping suppliers is a crucial element of the corporate social responsibility these brands have to the global environment and society at large. Both of these elements are heavily impacted by supply chain management activities, and the governance/compliance of supplier bodies.
These efforts come in the wake of the Chinese governments widespread mandates in 2016. It was found that “[…] 18 centralized water treatment plants in Shanghai had issues with heavy metals exceeding legal limits”. This information was uncovered after the information and communications technology industry was put through a series of due diligence, aimed towards enforcing environmental inspection.
As a result, China’s government shut down tens of thousands of factories in 2017. Thousands of companies were impacted by the inspections.
Initiatives and NGOs are continuing to form regarding the issues of supply chain water risk management, and solutions are being formed to combat on-going issues.
The U.N. is amongst the organizations in the mix, fighting to keep our global water resources clean. A recent mandate by the UN (Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate) implores industry leaders to “identify and reduce critical water risks to their businesses, seize water-related opportunities, and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals” (ceowatermandate.org 2018).
Managing the impact of global supply chain activities on clean water resources will continue to be a focus in various industry verticals.
The only question left to ask is: Is your company managing supply chain risks?