Wastewater Zero Frontrunners – Leading companies are taking action on wastewater pollution

WBCSD and leading business collaborate to take action on wastewater pollution to improve biodiversity, mitigate and adapt to climate change and enhance water security.

Published: 22 Apr 2022
Type: News

Geneva, 22 April 2022: On Earth Day 2022 with theme 'Invest In Our Planet', the World Business council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) announces a leading group of frontrunner companies taking action on wastewater pollution including H&M Group, UPL and Chevron. Among them H&M Group and UPL are the first companies to make their Wastewater Zero Commitment.

As highlighted in the 2020 publication: Wastewater Zero: A call to action for business to raise ambition for SDG 6.3, 80% of wastewater globally is discharged into the environment without treatment. This is bad for freshwater biodiversity, climate change and water security. Business has a role to play in treating all industrial wastewater, increasing the amount of water they reuse and recycle and ensuring that low-carbon treatment processes are used. The Wastewater Zero Commitment, launched in 2021 with the support of CDP and UN-Habitat, provides an ambitious framework for business to demonstrate leadership and work towards eliminating wastewater pollution by 2030.

To support business in taking action on wastewater pollution, WBCSD is developing the Wastewater Impact Assessment Tool (WIAT), a GIS-based tool that will enable business to identify high-impact facilities within their own operations and supply chain. As highlighted in the issue brief: The road to Wastewater Zero is data driven, eliminating wastewater pollution is dependent on the availability of robust, consistent and actionable data that can be used by policy makers, municipal wastewater facilities and industries for informed decision-making. We are working with Chevron, recognized as a Wastewater Zero frontrunner company, to develop and pilot WIAT prior to a public launch late in 2022.

The freshwater methodology of the Science Based Targets for Nature will provide a further impetus for companies to take action on wastewater pollution. The Wastewater Zero Commitment and WIAT will be aligned to support the adoption of the freshwater methodology when it is finalized in the coming months.

Tom Williams, Senior Director, Nature Action at WBCSD said: “Freshwater biodiversity has been in rapid decline over the last decades. As we prepare to adopt a new Global Biodiversity Framework, we need to find ways to galvanize collective action for a rapid response to halting and reversing the loss of nature. Eliminating wastewater pollution is an achievable ambition, that is good for biodiversity, climate change mitigation and adaptation and water security. The wastewater zero commitment provides an ambitious framework whereby leading companies can demonstrate leadership and progress towards this ambition. The WIAT provides a unique tool, focusing on wastewater pollution and water quality that aims to drive local investments to solve this global problem.”

“Guided by our goal to lead the change towards safe products and a toxic free fashion future, we have been working to reduce negative water impacts throughout our value chain for over ten years. Being recognized as a frontrunner in this field shows us that we’re on the right track and encourages us to further accelerate this work together with WBCSD and other industry stakeholders”, says David Dahl, Head of Climate and Nature at H&M Group.

Fernando Almada Calvo, Water Treatment Engineer at Chevron’s Technical Center said: “The Wastewater Impact Assessment Tool (WIAT) is enabling Chevron to assess the potential impacts of water discharges from our refinery operations on biodiversity and freshwater at the facility level”.

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