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Tool Sections: Overview Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4 Module 5
Module 5 Strategy Development and Implementation

Module Purpose

Module 5 brings together the results of Modules 1 through 4, enabling the organization to develop a water strategy tailored to its needs and circumstances. Effective strategies are typically composed of measurable goals, achievable targets, clear responsibilities, prioritized action plans, and defined continual improvement processes. This module prompts the organization to consider how a range of continual improvement might be implemented across multiple business functions and activities to achieve a company’s desired water sustainability goals. This module helps an organization answer the following questions.

  • What roles should various business functions play in the development and implementation of a company water strategy?
  • What steps and actions can the business take to achieve its desired water-related goals within a continual improvement framework?

The activities addressed in Modules 4 and 5 produce the building blocks of a company’s water strategy—goals, roles and responsibilities, and action plans. This information could be organized into a comprehensive business water strategy or incorporated as specific elements into broader business strategy and planning efforts, depending on the company’s needs.

Module Approach

Companies are likely to have established environmental and business strategy and planning processes. Integrating, or at least coordinating, water strategy development activities with these broader, established strategy and planning processes can mainstream the organization’s water strategy, enhancing both efficiencies and effectiveness. For example, GEMI’s SD Planner™ ( provides a framework to assist organizations in their development and implementation of a comprehensive approach to sustainable development that encompasses water-related issues.

Step 1




Identify the Roles that Various Business Functions Can Play in Developing and Implementing a Business Water Strategy

The type of opportunities and risks, the strength of the business case, and the focus of the strategic direction determined in Module 4 should illuminate the roles that various business functions can play to support achievement of the business’ desired water-related goals. Many of the companies profiled in the case studies have found significant benefit in engaging multiple business functions in developing and implementing the organization’s water strategy. Cross-functional involvement broadens ownership for tracking and managing water opportunities and risks. It also promotes incorporation of water awareness into established business processes and activities. The following business functions can often play an important role in developing and implementing a business water strategy: Senior Management, Plant Management and Operations, Public and Government Relations, Marketing, Product Development, Project Leaders, Facilities, Research and Development, and Engineering.

At the same time, securing time and attention from various business functions to address water issues often necessitates that they understand the potential benefits of and business case for their involvement. In some situations, the business case may not be strong enough to warrant their time and attention.

Step 2



Identify and Implement Specific Actions to Achieve the Organization’s Water-Related Goals

Actions will typically fall into two categories. First, there are actions designed to address specific water-related opportunities and risks. These actions will support key opportunities identified in Module 3. Second, there are actions designed to ensure that the organization effectively identifies, evaluates, addresses, and monitors water opportunities and risks into the future. Such actions focus on awareness building, issue identification, business evaluation, action planning and implementation, and performance measurement. For most companies, these continual improvement actions will fit well into their environmental management systems and into the Plan-Do-Check-Advance process that has been a hallmark of GEMI’s tools.


Continual Improvement Process Areas



Module Outputs

Completing Module 5, organizations should have a water strategy tailored to the company's needs and circumstances. The strategy should lay the foundation of a countinual improvement system to identify, evaluate, address, and monitor water-related opportunties and risks.

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