Free Tool to Help Companies With Local Water Challenges

by | Mar 18, 2011

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The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) is developing a free tool to help companies understand their local water challenges.

GEMI, whose members include Johnson & Johnson, ConocoPhillips, Dupont, FedEx and other major multinationals, is developing the GEMI Local Water Tool with fellow environmental business group the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The downloadable module will be made available by early 2012. It is designed to be used in conjunction with the WBCSD’s Global Water Tool, and the two will be fully compatible, the two organizations said. The Global Water Tool allows for a comprehensive water risk assessment across a company’s portfolio, while the Local Water Tool will provide guidance on local, site-specific water risks and opportunities.

The Local Water Tool is being led by three co-chairs: Karl Fennessey, director of water and biodiversity at ConocoPhillips; Bill Lechner, vice president of global environment health and safety and security at the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company; and Maurice (Moe) Bechard, vice president of global environment health and safety at Diversey, Inc.

“We are excited about the development of this tool because the purpose and functionality of the GEMI and WBCSD tools are mutually supportive,” said Lechner. “Companies can utilize the WBCSD Global Water Tool to identify and prioritize risks in their portfolios.  Companies can then employ the GEMI Local Water Tool to further evaluate the high risk locations and plan actions to manage the risks.”

“If companies today expect to compete and succeed in an increasingly water-constrained world, proactive water management must become a core competency,” WBCSD president Bjorn Stigson said. “It is a fundamental truism that you can’t manage what you can’t measure.  That is why we have partnered with GEMI to ensure that companies have access to a variety of tools that can be integrated into a comprehensive water management solution.”

GEMI also has a Business and Climate web tool that allows business to share practices on battling climate change. The WBCSD is one of the organizations that created the Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 protocols for greenhouse gas reporting.

The project represents the first time that companies that are not members of GEMI can participate in the development of a GEMI tool, the organization said. Companies that have joined the effort to develop the tool include AkzoNobel; BP; Chesapeake Energy; Chevron; ENI; ExxonMobil; Greif; Intel; ITT; Maersk Oil & Gas; Nexen Inc.; Shell; Statoil; Suncor Energy Inc.; Talisman Energy Inc.; and TOTAL.

GEMI members include: 3M; Abbott; Biogen Idec; BNSF Railway Company; Cargill, Inc.; Carnival Corporation & plc; ConAgra Foods; ConocoPhillips; CSX Transportation; Diversey, Inc.; DuPont; FedEx; Johnson & Johnson; Johnson Controls, Inc.; Kraft Foods Inc.; Legrand; MedImmune; Merck & Company, Inc.; Occidental Petroleum Corporation; Perdue Incorporated.; The Procter & Gamble Company; The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company; Smithfield Foods, Inc.; Southern Company; and, Union Pacific Railroad.

Picture credit: Michael Scott |

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