Water is a vital sustainability consideration in business sectors and communities around the world. It can also be one of the most complicated to manage. The good news is that water stewardship – working with others to identify and tackle the complex challenges we face around sustainable water use – is becoming more recognised by industry leaders and global decision makers. At the landmark United Nations 2023 Water Conference, an energised and committed water stewardship community shared years of collective experience and resources to help companies understand how to better address their water use and impacts. This momentum for water stewardship continues to grow.
Global climate change, growing economies, population growth and changing lifestyles are putting increasing pressure on the earth’s limited freshwater resources.
Water stewardship considers the ‘bigger picture’ of water use – how consumption in one place can have a big impact on communities and ecosystems elsewhere. It also considers climate-related water challenges, such as droughts or floods.
For businesses, embracing water stewardship means thinking beyond their own site boundaries and working with others to understand and address the wider, longer-term impacts of their water use.
Water stewardship is for the greater good, but it also makes commercial sense. It helps protect business continuity, ensuring that supply chains and operations will be resilient to water-related challenges as they arise.
The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) exists to tackle the urgent global challenges driven by water insecurity. Our mission is to ignite and nurture global and local leadership in credible water stewardship that recognises and secures freshwater’s social, cultural, environmental and economic value.
Learn more about us by reading the AWS Strategy 2022-2030: Accelerating Impact.
AWS is two mutually supportive things:
AWS and its members support the adoption and promotion of the AWS Standard. Our collaborative network works hand-in-hand towards the same goals: using water stewardship to protect the shared water resources we all rely on.
We support action on two levels:
Our strength lies in the diversity of experience that AWS Members bring with them. AWS Members tell us that the collaborative, multistakeholder nature of our organisation gives them confidence that they are doing the right thing. It allows them to challenge each other and the system, to respond to water challenges in a transparent, equitable and sustainable way. AWS Members also play a pivotal role in growing and strengthening the water stewardship community.
Become part of our global network of business leaders, NGOs and public sector professionals.
Through our AWS Standard System Training, participants explore the changing landscape of water risks and opportunities, the concept of water stewardship and how it can help businesses and their supply chains to become more resilient to climate and water-related challenges. Our open public courses help trainees develop leadership in water stewardship and gain an in-depth understanding of the AWS Standard through a combination of lessons, group discussions and fictional case studies.
Our AWS Standard System training is also available as a tailored training exclusive to your organisation.
AWS Member organisations have unlimited access to the AWS Tools Hub. The site is home to a variety of water stewardship resources to help you along your water stewardship journey, including:
AWS E-Standard & E-Guidance
Audit Ready Tool
Online Learning Modules
The AWS Tools Hub is now also available in Spanish!
AWS convenes quarterly working groups with four priority business sectors to deepen their engagement with water stewardship: Agricultural Supply Chains; Food & Beverage Manufacturing; Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals & Personal Care; and Textiles & Apparel.
We invite committed brands, NGOs and regional experts working in our five priority sectors to join a sector-specific working group to collaborate with one another, help set the agenda for water stewardship, and join a community of purpose-driven individuals united in a mission to protect water resources.
Participation in AWS working groups is largely limited to AWS Members, but new participants who are interested in learning more about AWS and the work we do are welcome to join up to three meetings.
The AWS Impact Accelerator is a collaborative, location-based approach to water stewardship. It was developed to give businesses working in water-stressed regions an opportunity to work together to find solutions to shared challenges in a cost-effective, scalable and replicable way.
AWS is currently running and scoping AWS Impact Accelerators across the globe.
AWS Standard certification is confirmation of having met best practice for responsible water stewardship. It enables sites to make credible claims about their water stewardship performance and benefits may include increased investor confidence, improved brand perception and strengthened customer relationships.
A company can implement the AWS Standard across its single, group or multi-site operations.