Certification demonstrates that a site has successfully completed each of the five steps in the AWS Standard. Certificated sites tell us that achieving AWS certification brings demonstrable benefits in regards to relationships with customers, increased investor confidence, strengthened social license to operate, brand perception and dialogue with regulators and policy makers.
Why get certified?
AWS certification is confirmation of having met the global benchmark for responsible water stewardship.Only with certification can organisations and businesses provide the assurance to external and internal stakeholders that your claims of good water stewardship are credible.Certifiedsitesuse their AWS Standard certification to demonstrate the efficacy of their water stewardship practices to a range of audiences, such as retail customers, wholesalers, consumers, government agencies, regulators, NGO’s, local civil society organisations, local communities, investors and development financiers, and more.
Is my site eligible for AWS certification?
The AWS Standard is a site-based standard. It is applicable globally to all organisations and industrial sectors, independent of their size and operational complexity, including agriculture, and non-profit sectors. The focus of the Standard is the operational site and its local water catchment, but with a broader goal to include indirect water use in the supply chain.
The Standard applies to all types of water used by an organisation in its normal activities. This includes surface water, groundwater, recycled water, desalinized water (from ocean or brackish sources), precipitation, non-renewable reserves (fossil water), and unusual sources such as snow or ice. The scope applies to all water uses whether from private water sources or from third party suppliers. The same applies to wastewater management and treatment.
The Standard is intended to be applicable to any type and size of business in any location. The current guidance to the Standard is general for all sectors and regions. Sector-specific and regional guidance are foreseen for future development, and subject to need and demand.
Each organization should apply water stewardship to a ‘physical scope’ extending beyond the site’s boundaries for data collection, stakeholder engagement and actions. The physical scope should be based on a combination of water-related catchment(s), stakeholder interests and regulatory landscape.
Where two or more small sites (such as small businesses or farms) are physically close to each other and where they share characteristics such as catchment and have similar water-related interests and/or challenges, they are encouraged to consider group implementation, which is permitted under the AWS certification scheme. This will enable them to share knowledge and resources and to more effectively collaborate in collective action.
To find out more about which certification may be right for your site, please contact AWS.
The Path to AWS Certification
Below are some of the common steps an organisation might go through as they work towards certification of their site against the AWS Standard. Click each step below to learn more and see helpful links.
1. Familiarise your site with the AWS Standard
Download the AWS Standard for free and familiarise your site with it. Once you are ready to get started on your water stewardship journey, contact AWS to discuss how to begin.
Work within your organisation to complete the five steps of the AWS Standard. This can be done internally within your organisation or with the help of a consultant, such as an AWS Professionally Credentialed individual.
5. Work with Water Stewardship Assurance Services (WSAS) to complete the certification process
Sites are required to schedule an audit with Water Stewardship Assurance Services (WSAS), the sole mission-driven assurance provider for the AWS Standard. WSAS can provide helpful information on the step-by-step process.
There are three levels of AWS Standard certification that a site may achieve: Core, Gold and Platinum. All core criteria must be met as a minimum requirement for certification. Additional points are awarded for performance against the Advanced Indicators. The greater the number of points achieved the higher the level of water stewardship performance and AWS certification.
Advanced Indicators and higher-level certification were introduced to recognise that good water stewards seek continual improvement and commit to ongoing action to respond to the ever-evolving nature of local water context. Gold and Platinum status recognises sites that push their water stewardship performance to higher levels.
The advanced points required for each certification level are:
AWS Core: 0 – 39 points
AWS Gold: 40 – 79 points
AWS Platinum: 80 or more points
A site’s certificate is valid for three years, subject to successful annual surveillance audits.
Still have questions about AWS certification?
Please get in touch with us to find out more.