As yet there is no formal definition of the phrase ‘water positive’, but most accept that it means putting more water back into the freshwater sources than you extract. With greater awareness of the risks from water shortages, corporations around the globe have pledged to become water positive within the next few years. We take a look at what some of the world’s biggest businesses are doing to become water positive.

Facebook

Since 2017, Facebook has invested in water restoration projects when operating in high-water stress areas. The company has now committed to becoming water positive by 2030. You may be surprised by how much water an online company uses, but with such a huge global presence, it needs offices to house thousands of employees, as well as data centres that use a lot of water in order to cool the servers. Facebook’s water efficiencies to date include recycling water, planting low-water-use plants, and using renewable energy that needs less water than fossil fuels. It is also taking part in water restoration projects across the US.

Microsoft

In 2020, the tech giant committed to becoming a carbon negative, zero waste company. By the end of that year it had also committed to become water positive by 2030. Planned measures include rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling, and adiabatic cooling - a process that uses air rather than water. It has plans to install solar energy across its sites which is estimated to save 350 million litres of water every year.

Pepsi Co

In 2021, food and drinks behemoth Pepsi Co also announced its commitment to become ‘net water positive’ by 2030. Its ambition is “to reduce absolute water use and replenish back into the local watershed more than 100% of the water used at company-owned and third-party sites in high-water-risk areas”. As part of its commitment, the Pepsi Co Foundation has already launched a $1m partnership with WaterAid to bring safe water to families in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Virgin

Virgin is investing heavily in Waterplan, a software platform that will help companies measure, respond, report and monitor their changing water risk. Using satellite images and hydrologic and climate models, Waterplan will monitor watersheds and water availability in the locations a company is based in real time. It will make recommendations on how to reduce water risk, as well as the financial costs involved.

The cost of inaction on water security is five times the cost of action. As Waterplan’s co-founder and CEO, José Ignacio Galindo, said: “In the past, companies have taken a reactive approach to water-related issues, often incurring large financial and reputational costs to correct problems after they’ve occurred.”

It is hoped that by showing the business case for mitigating water risk, the platform will help companies save water, stop discharging pollutants and help to conserve watersheds. Waterplan has already caught the attention of Hollywood - Leonardo di Caprio has invested as part of Virgin’s $7m seed investment.

Steps your business can take now

Your business doesn’t have to become water positive in order to make a big difference. By taking steps to become more water efficient, you can reduce your water consumption and prevent water wastage sometimes dramatically. In the process, you'll also save money on water and wastewater bills. If you would like to save money on your bills now, you could make an immediate saving of up to 20% by switching to Castle Water. Click here to get an instant quote.

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