March 2016 News

March 2016 News


Over recent weeks the AWS Board has been working on strategic priorities for the organization, primarily focusing on the next 12 months, but within a draft framework of goals for 2020. The result is a strategic framework: “Building Participation and Ownership; Maintaining Credibility”.

We will be engaging our members through the course of this year to further refine the longer term strategic goals for AWS.  To join AWS and help shape our strategic direction please visit


In another significant milestone for AWS, we will shortly be establishing the first AWS Technical Committee as part of our multi-stakeholder governance. The Technical Committee will work on behalf of AWS members to provide balanced stakeholder oversight of matters relating to the integrity and quality control of the AWS water stewardship system. Amongst other functions, the Technical Committee will oversee the first review and revision process of the AWS Standard, scheduled to commence later this year.

As well as balanced stakeholder representation, the Technical Committee will need a diverse range of expertise to effectively fulfil its critical roles. AWS members are able to nominate individuals to participate on the Technical Committee. A draft Terms of Reference for the Technical Committee is available to download at For more information, please contact Richard Robertson at


On November 1st and 2nd we will be hosting the first AWS Global Water Stewardship Forum in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Forum will bring together pioneering water stewardship practitioners and promoters from around the world, and provide a space to exchange vital knowledge and experiences for the advancement of the AWS Standard and water stewardship more broadly. The central feature of the Forum will be experiences from implementing and promoting the AWS Standard.


As part of its Indo-Pacific Water Stewardship Project, supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), AWS and WSA have been driving the establishment water stewardship networks in India and China. The first meeting of the India Water Stewardship Network took place in Delhi in January, attended by a “core group”, led by AWS and including ITC, WWF, CDP, Hindustan Unilever Foundation, Centre for Responsible Business, Centre for International Projects Trust and the Embassy of the Netherlands in India. The intent is to expand the group while simultaneously developing projects to build the business case for water stewardship in India.

Meanwhile in China, our Regional Director Zhenzhen Xu is continuing to build interest in a local network that would expand on the existing partnership between AWS, WSA, WWF China, Green Zhejiang and provincial government agencies. The working committee has scheduled its first meeting in March to discuss concrete steps for developing the China Network. Zhenzhen has also finished registration of a Chinese organization that will provide a legal basis for WSA’s future activities in China


Kicking off 2016, WSA Executive Secretary Michael Spencer and Asia Pacific Regional Manager Zhenzhen Xu, together with Ecolab executive Ma Xi have had a collaborative article on water stewardship published by China Water Risk. The article tells the story of the development of water stewardship and how it has been used by Ecolab in China to address water risks in a way that was consistent with their business goals. Ecolab’s Taicang plant near Shanghai was the first in the world to be independently certified against the AWS Water Stewardship Standard. To view the article please visit

In February the Huanghu Natural Center Water Stewardship Program was officially kicked off.  This Center was established in 2014 as the base of nature education for Hangzhou citizens. The project will demonstrate the AWS Standard’s potential to achieve a better water management and environmental status at the site and within the Cibi catchment.  The project team is currently working on information collection and stakeholder interview to complete Step 2 and 3 of the AWS Standard.

A three-day training program on water stewardship for people working in public policy, academia, consulting, industry and agriculture was held recently on a small tea farm just outside Nanjing. Discussions around the training explored the role of water stewardship in dealing with non-point-source pollution from agriculture. The AWS Group Certification Scheme was seen as an important tool to engage village level participants from small agricultural operations. Group certification is also generating considerable interest in India, Australia, Colombia and Africa.


Water Stewardship Leadership Forum in Tanzania

From April 14 we will be co-presenting the Water Stewardship Leadership Forum and Masterclass in Arusha, Tanzania. This event aims to catalyse improved collaboration between business, government and civil society to improve water security across East Africa. Following a multi-stakeholder Leadership Forum there will be three days of advanced and specialist training. Training will include a field visit to AWS member Diageo’s Serengeti Breweries Ltd site in Moshi. This site has pioneered implementation of the AWS Standard in northern Tanzania and will provide participants with hands on learning on its application. We would be grateful if you could pass this information through your networks to help us achieve maximum impact for the event. Full information and registration form can be found at

First African site audited for AWS Certification

OLAM International’s coffee estate in southern Tanzania is the first site in Africa to be audited for conformity with the AWS Standard. This follows a learning and preparation journey supported by AWS accredited advisors, Water Witness International. Additional support to document the learning process came from the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP) managed by GIZ on behalf of the UK (DFID) and the German governments (BMZ), for whom the AWS Standard holds strategic interest. The audit was conducted by SGS.

Economic risk reduction through water stewardship

Evidence of the ability of water stewardship to reduce water risk for financial institutions was presented at the Sinayo Securities | UBS, Water Summit held in Cape Town on 25th February.  Our Regional Manager, Mark Dent, played a key facilitation role in the event. There is growing acceptance that preparedness to respond early, collectively, systemically, in a co-ordinated fashion with a full a set of wisely integrated information is key to mitigating systemic economic risk, caused by water related issues.  AWS certification can provide confidence to investors, finance and insurance providers that a site is taking progressive steps to mitigate water risk.  The growing participation of financial and insurance service provides joining the 2030 Water Resources Group’s Strategic Water Partners Networks demonstrates how seriously the sectors are taking water stewardship responses.

ICT development piloted

In pursuit of our aim to have globally-consistent IT systems that support the growth of AWS, we are pilot testing a system which has been developed by DHI, a leading global player in this space and whose products and capacity building efforts are widespread in the region. This is utilizing the catchment and site information aspects in our partnership with WWF, GIZ, M&S and Woolworths in the Western Cape, South Africa.


White House Water Summit

On March 22, 2016, in conjunction with the UN World Water Day, the Obama Administration will host a White House Water Summit to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States, and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future through innovative science and technology. AWS-North America is working with the Executive Office of the President to craft a commitment on AWS Standard implementation nationally that would result in a substantial amount of water saved and watersheds improved. Stay tuned for more information on AWS-North America’s commitment to support this national initiative. This event will be livestreamed on, and the public is invited to participate using the hashtag #WHWaterSummit.

The Fund for Lake Michigan Awards a Grant to AWS-North America

The Water Council, our regional partner for North America has secured a two-year grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to assist with implementation of the AWS Standard at the Water Council’s Global Water Center in Milwaukee. This will primarily be through the hiring of a graduate level intern to manage the implementation process with assistance from our North America Director, Matt Howard. The Global Water Center is the only office building on the planet to publicly commit to implementing the AWS Standard. Remaining funds would be available to assist one industrial site in South-Eastern Wisconsin with AWS Standard implementation.  An industrial site and partner have not yet been identified.


We are delighted to be able to include the Turner Foundation as one of our funding partners, thanks to a US$60,000 grant we secured at the end of 2015. This grant for general support will help us build our organizational capacity and membership program.


Water Stewardship Australia has scheduled a three-day training program for Adelaide on the 4th – 6th of April. For more information and to reserve your place in the course please contact Megan

AWS-North America is planning three days of AWS water stewardship training to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in April or May. Dates and venue will be announced soon.

We also have concrete plans for training in Pakistan, China and Peru. Dates are still to be confirmed by please get in touch if you are interested in attending.


14th March 2016    AWS will be joining CDP and WWF on a webinar entitled “Striving for Excellence; how to use the Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard to reduce impact”. To register go to : –

April 14-14: Water Stewardship Leadership Forum and Masterclass in Arusha, Tanzania. More information at

AWS-North America Director, Matt Howard, will be speaking at the Canadian Water Summit in Toronto, Ontario on June 23. Additionally, he is working to determine the feasibility of providing AWS Training that same week in the Toronto metropolitan region.

AWS Global Water Stewardship Forum, November 1-2, Edinburgh, Scotland