Water valuation: a set of resources for managers

The publication Water valuation: Building the business case demonstrates the business case for companies to engage in water valuation for enhanced decision-making. It is supported by a review of 21 business case studies. It specifically aims to answer the following questions:

  • Why is the price of water different from its cost and value?
  • What are the latest trends towards valuing water?
  • Why should companies engage in water valuation?

It is complemented by Business Guide to water valuation: an introduction to concepts and techniques, which provides technical background to business managers who are considering engaging in water valuation. More specifically it:

  • Clarifies the concepts and techniques around water valuation;
  • Provides practical guidance on water valuation;
  • Arms managers with the knowledge and critical eye needed to work with valuation specialists. It should help them commission, manage and review water valuation studies, as well as make best use of the findings.

The Guide also serves a wider audience interested in water valuation, including valuation experts, policy-makers and researchers. It aims ideally to facilitate consistency in use of approached and terminology for future water valuation studies.

Better understanding the value of water

A key approach advocated globally to improve water management is ‘water valuation’ coupled with charging the ‘full cost’ of using water through better pricing policies. Government regulations may also enforce, or at least encourage, valuation of water.  In addition, growing stakeholder and supply chain demands are likely to grow as perceptions evolve in relation to growing sustainability awareness.  This whole movement towards better understanding and pricing the true value of water will have significant implications for all businesses – both in terms of risks and opportunities.

Business case

Valuation is a complex and controversial issue, and business needs to participate in the discussion, as one of the many water users. Better valuing water is also part of responsible water management, and among other benefits, it can:

  • Help to make better-informed decisions related to securing access in the supply chain and production, and retail sites around the world;
  • Enable businesses to calculate the availability of water for their production processes as it is allocated between users, communities and ecosystems in the future;
  • Help to find ways to enhance revenues and save costs, and be a market leader is this area.

Pathway objective

To demonstrate the benefits of water valuation for improved internal business decisions and external stakeholder engagement.


The work is based on the analysis of case studies from companies that have valued water. It also builds on the WBCSD Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV), a framework for improving corporate decision-making through valuing ecosystem services.

A careful analysis of the collected case studies will allow WBCSD to:

  • Identify the business case for water valuation;
  • Analyze key learnings and results;
  • Refine understanding of key water valuation potential applications;
  • Identify potential commonalities, with the objective of defining guidance for water valuation.
Pathway structure

Leading company: Veolia Water

Companies and Regional Network partners active in the pathway: BCSD Portugal, ERM, GDF-Suez, Hitachi, Holcim, Petrobras, PwC, Shell, SABMiller, Siemens, Suncor.

Partners and contributorsAlberta WaterSMARTAquafed, Global Nature Fund, IUCN,  Sustain Value, Trucost, UNEP, University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, Wetlands International.

News & Events

4 Sep 2013 - Sharing Water: Engaging business Seminar at the World Water Week in Stockholm, co-covened by WBCSD, Wetlands International, and OECD. Includes launch of the Business Guide to Water Valuation.

Dec 2012 - WBCSD participated in the Seminar on environmental valuation organized by the French Ministry of Environment (MEDDE) in Paris and presented its work on corporate ecosystems valuation and water valuation.

Dec 2012 - ACES and Ecosystem Markets 2012 Conference in Florida: presentation of the “Water Valuation: Building the Business Case” publication during a session on “The Use of Ecosystem Service Valuation in Decision Making: Case Studies from the Public and Private Sector.”

WBCSD will participate in the 'Rethinking Values and Valuation in Water Security' Focus Area of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council (GAC) on Water Security. Read blog by Joppe Cramwinckel, Director of WBCSD Water Program, on 'Finding the real value of water', published in advance of the GAC's meeting in Dubai in November 2012.


For more information or to get involved contact Tatiana Fedotova, fedotova@wbcsd.org.

Key Resources
No Picture
Business Guide to Water Valuation: an introduction to concepts and techniques
No Picture
Water valuation: detailed case studies
No Picture
Water valuation Building the business case
No Picture
Water valuation Business case study summaries
Page 1 of 1
Case studies

Veolia - Water for Energy CEV

Valuation Case studies from the road testers of the Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation

Water valuation Business case study summaries


Dr. Pavan Sukhdev on the Invisible Economy

Follow us on Twitter WBCSD YouTube channel Linkedin WBCSD on Google +

 Terms of use |  Privacy notice

© All rights reserved