Water is key to agricultural production. Access to water as well as growing scarcity and competition between users is driving the urgency for responsible use and management: agriculture accounts for 69 percent of freshwater withdrawal globally and in Asia and Africa, 81 percent and 82 percent respectively. An interactive map from the World Resources Institute's Aqueduct project shows that more than 25 percent of the world’s agriculture is grown in areas of high water stress. This figure doubles when looking at irrigated cropland, which produces 40 percent of global food supply. And under business-as-usual conditions, water demand is forecast to rise 50 percent by 2030: agriculture will drive nearly half of that additional demand in order to feed over 9 billion people by 2050. Investor interest in how the agribusiness industry is addressing water risks is also growing e.g. the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment initiated an engagement on water risks in agricultural supply chains. The SDGs have highlighted the urgency of the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenge: 60 percent of the world’s population is without access to a safe toilet and 10 percent to safe drinking water.
The objective of this workstream is to support member companies on their water stewardship journey. The key activity underway is the implementation of a series of Action Learning Projects, developed in collaboration with the Alliance for Water Stewardship. The first of these, at a Phoenix operation in Karnal (Haryana, North India) is complete. Two more are planned for 2019, including at a Halcyon operation in Jambi, Indonesia.
See “Action Brief 3.1 Action Learning Projects: Training materials from the Alliance for Water Stewardship” to learn more about GAA’s work to help member companies progress on their water stewardship journeys.
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