GEMI Local Water Tool (LWT) 2.0 – Updating and Enhancing the LWT: Project Proposal

Business risk, opportunity assessments, and reporting related to water issues continue to evolve to require analyses of water use, local availability, impact of use, license to operate and climate-adaptation considerations on both global and local levels.

Originally released in 2012, the GEMI Local Water Tool™(LWT) is a free Excel-based tool for companies and organizations to evaluate the external impacts, business risks, opportunities and management plans related to water use and discharge at a specific site or operation. The GEMI Local Water Tool™(LWT) for Oil and Gas is a companion tool customized for petroleum companies.

The tool is designed to answer questions related to a local risk assessment of a specific site, such as:

  • What are the water risks at this site:
    • Physical supply
    • Regulatory
    • Social
    • Competition
    • Climate variability
  • Which risks are greatest?
  • What is our management plan?

The GEMI LWT™ was developed in cooperation with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to link to the WBCSD Global Water Tool (GWT) as well as with IPIECA to link to the IPIECA Global Water Tool for Oil and Gas and provides a set of tools that companies can use to sustainably manage water in their operations.  The GEMI LWT was most recently updated in March 2015 to maintain alignment with the WBCSD Global Water Tool.

Since the GEMI LWT’s release in 2012, it has been used globally by thousands of organizations across sectors and has been referenced as a valuable resource for water risk assessment by a variety of independent organizations, such as the Alliance for Water Stewardship, CDP, CEO Water Mandate, Environmental Business Journal, SDG Compass and others.


GEMI is now taking on a new effort to review and update the GEMI Local Water Tool™(LWT) and GEMI Local Water Tool™ for Oil & Gas to:

  • incorporate consideration of climate adaptation in the tool’s risk assessment process through addition of a new module within the tool
  • provide updated links within the tool to credible and recent local water data
  • enhance alignment of the tool’s outputs with current water reporting requirements, where relevant,
  • ensure the tool is updated to the latest software standards, while enhancing its ease of use

An identical update will be performed for both the LWT and LWT for Oil & Gas, while maintaining existing sector-specific custom elements in the current oil & gas tool.

In order to develop the most comprehensive tool possible, GEMI is opening up the revision process to a wider set of companies and industry organizations. Those organizations joining the project will have influence in the tool’s design and scope, gain insight into how others are managing water risks and get to utilize the tool prior public release.

GEMI LWT project members will have a unique opportunity to identify and shape key enhancements to the existing tool in areas such as: the impact of climate-adaptation considerations in water risk assessment, the use of water risk assessment outputs for current and expected corporate water reporting requirements and, linkages to new/enhanced water datasets. Those organizations participating in this collaborative effort will be recognized during the development and release of the new tool.

Project Tasks, Budget and Schedule

The following tasks are planned for revision and expansion of the GEMI Local Water Tool (LWT).  At the beginning of the project, ideas for revisions and updates of the current GEMI tools will be sought from the project working group (LWT Project Members).

Project Tasks

Task 1: Finalize Project Work Plan.

  • Gather input from group of representative LWT users for the purpose of understanding the pros and cons of the existing LWT tool, what works and what needs to be addressed, suggested improvements and ways to potentially simplify the process.

Deliverable: Final Project Work Plan

Task 2: Refresh and Expand the Local Water Tool Framework, Content and Functionality

  • A one-day Framing Workshop will be held to review and enhance the design of the LWT 2.0 structure, functionalities, and outputs. Review climate change risks and define the resources that the collective group feels need to be considered for use as a link to help assess current and forecasted risks.

Deliverable: Memorandum documenting the outcomes of the Framing Workshop.

Task 3: Create Draft LWT 2.0, Review with Project Members and Revise based on member feedback

  • Create Draft LWT: A draft 2.0 version of the LWT will be created based on the existing GEMI LWT and the results of the Framing Workshop.

Deliverable: Draft LWT 2.0 architectural framework

  • Review Teleconference: A 90-minute teleconference will be held with the Project Members to review the draft LWT 2.0.

Deliverable: Memorandum documenting the outcomes of the LWT Review.

  • Revise Draft LWT: The Draft LWT 2.0 will be revised based on the Review call and an identical update will be made to the LWT oil & gas version to align with the revision.

Deliverable: LWT 2.0 ready for Pilot Testing

Task 4: Pilot Test LWT 2.0

  • A Pilot Tester Kickoff Teleconference will be held with LWT Project Members to provide instructions for using the tool. Technical support will be provided to pilot testers if needed.
  • A 90-minute Pilot Testers Review Teleconference will be held to review lessons learned and revise the tool

Deliverable: Memorandum documenting the outcomes of the Pilot Testers teleconference.

Task 5: Finalize LWT: General Version and Oil/Gas Sector Version.

Deliverable: Final Local Water Tools: General and Oil/Gas Version 2.0 ready for publication online.

Project Schedule

Date Task
September 2018 Confirmation of Project Participants and Finalize Project Funding.

Issue Invoices to Committed Participants.

October – December 2018 Task 1: Finalize Project Work Plan


January – March 2019 Task 2: Refresh and Expand the Local Water Tool Framework, Content and Functionality
April – June 2019 Task 3: Create Draft LWT 2.0, Review with Project Members and Revise based on member feedback
July – September 2019 Task 4: Pilot Test LWT 2.0
October 2019 Task 5: Finalize LWT: General Version and Oil/Gas Sector Version

Project Budget

This project will be completed at a total cost of $250,000, inclusive of expenses and GEMI administrative costs. This estimated cost assumes that GEMI will provide organizational support for logistics and meeting scheduling.  Meeting locations are assumed to be in the United States.

Funding Approach

GEMI is seeking to form a cross-industry coalition of companies and industry trade associations interested in water risk assessment and to raise funding from participating organizations to support this project. The total budget would be divided between interested participants. This cost-shared model allows project partners to help shape a new tool at a much lower cost than commissioning such a project individually, while also learning from peers from across sectors. GEMI is seeking a commitment of interest by September 15, 2018 with payment due by January 15, 2019.


GEMI will partner on this project with a team from Gannett Fleming, Inc., led by Mark D. Johnson, Senior Vice President, Director – Environmental Compliance & Remediation Services. For more than 100 years, Gannett Fleming has been a leader in global infrastructure solutions with a focus on planning, design, technology, and construction management services for a diverse array of markets and disciplines. Partnering with the GEMI Water Sustainability Work Group, Gannett Fleming was the prime developer of GEMI’s Collecting the Drops: A Water Sustainability Planner tool. The web-based tool was tailored for facility managers or owners and guided them through the process of assessing water use and impacts from their operations, and this tool served as a model for the original GEMI LWT.


To learn more about participation in this project and the project commitment process please contact Kellen Mahoney at GEMI at

GEMI publishes new ISO 14001:2015 Self-Assessment Checklist

GEMI publishes new ISO 14001:2015 Self-Assessment Checklist

Tool helps sustainability professionals quickly assess an organization’s management practices according to the latest ISO 14001 updates

Washington, DC – The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI), a global leader in developing insights, networking and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business, today released a new edition of its GEMI ISO 14001:2015 Self-Assessment Checklist to reflect the 2015 revisions to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard. The checklist enables a rapid self-assessment of an organization or facility to determine how closely existing management practices and procedures correspond to the elements of the standard.

GEMI produced its original checklist in 1996 to help interested companies understand the requirements of the new-at-the-time ISO 14001 standard, an internationally recognized approach to managing immediate and long-term environmental impacts of an organization’s products, services and processes. Since then, ISO has continued to update the 14001 standard, with the most recent 2015 update offering substantial adjustments.

“Sustainability strategy and management best practices have rapidly transformed during the last 20 years, and we felt it was a priority for our group to overhaul GEMI’s original checklist to reflect the current environment,” said Mark Johnson, senior vice president, director – Environmental Compliance & Remediation Services, Gannett Fleming Inc., and communications and marketing chair, GEMI. “We moved away from GEMI’s original lengthy document format to offer a spreadsheet that will make it easier for people to complete efficiently and digest the standard requirements across seven key categories.”

Of note, some of the biggest changes to the ISO 14001:2015 standard—and therefore, GEMI’s tool—are the following:

  • Identifying and addressing the opportunities and risks that may impact an organization’s environmental management system
  • Emphasizing stronger requirements for identifying an organization’s stakeholders and having a stakeholder communications plan
  • Demonstrating commitment to improved environmental performance, not just continual improvement
  • Identifying environmental aspects associated with the life-cycle stages of products and detailing where the organization can control or influence the environmental aspects of those life-cycle stages
  • Requiring top management accountability and engagement to incorporate the standard in the operational functions and strategic direction of the business

“Globally, many organizations have come a long way from retroactively reporting on benchmarks to more proactive thinking on environmental management, and this tool should help all environmental professionals brush up on the latest methods,” said Bill Gill, AVP environmental affairs, Smithfield Foods, and chair, GEMI.

GEMI provides a forum for its members to work together to identify and develop new solutions for current and emerging sustainability issues. GEMI’s ISO 14001:2015 self-assessment checklist was developed in a collaborative process by GEMI members.  The development of this new GEMI checklist was led by Mark Johnson of Gannett Fleming with support from Steve Rowley and the Gannett Fleming compliance and management team.

GEMI’s ISO 14001:2015 Self-Assessment Checklist can be found here:

About GEMI 

GEMI ( is the global leader in developing insights, networking, and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business. For 25 years, GEMI has captured the vision and experience of global corporate environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability leaders from diverse business sectors through the development of a wide range of publicly-available, solutions-based tools designed to help companies improve the environment, their operations and add business value.