Water Stewardship & Climate

Alliance for Water Stewardship / Water Stewardship & Climate


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:

1. A sustainability standard system

  • The International Water Stewardship Standard (AWS Standard) is a globally applicable framework for major water users to understand, measure and advance their water stewardship performance.
  • Built on a five-step process that guides water users to consider the most critical water impacts (see diagram).
  • Driven by five outcomes: good water governance; sustainable water balance; good water quality status; important water-related areas (IWRAs) and water, sanitation and hygiene for all (WASH).
  • Developed to implement on any site or within any catchment, sector or geography.
  • Underpinned by third-party certification to enable sites to make credible claims on their water stewardship performance.
  • Fully compliant with ISEAL, the global alliance for credible standard systems.

2. A multi-stakeholder membership-based alliance

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:

  • Global: We raise awareness and driver water user engagement worldwide.
  • Local: We build capacity and momentum by connecting AWS-implementing sites with stakeholders and activities.


Contact us

If you want to know more about our work in our priority sectors or join one of our working groups, please get in touch using the contact form below.

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