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Moving Forward

As GEMI member companies reflected on the emerging challenges facing our businesses and our communities, freshwater availability and quality surfaced prominently on the list. Clean freshwater is vital to business—and to people and ecosystems.

In areas around the world an imbalance is growing between supply and demand for clean freshwater. Supplies of freshwater are being stretched to meet the needs of growing populations, increasing industrial development and agricultural production, and ecosystems and wildlife protection. While the world is not running out of water, supplies of clean freshwater are not always in sufficient availability where and when needs arise. The challenge of meeting these needs intensifies where water sources are depleted at rates faster than replenishment and where waters are being polluted.

The collective experience of GEMI member companies indicates that the business case for strategically and sustainably addressing water challenges continues to strengthen across many business sectors and regions. We see our collective challenge as this: To manage our shared water resources, through thoughtful and collaborative efforts, to ensure the health and well being of people, ecosystems, and businesses now and into the future. To do so will require foresight and creativity.

As we move forward into the 21st century, our understanding about what it means to sustainably manage freshwater supplies will undoubtedly evolve. Continued dialogue and collaboration will be necessary to map broad notions of water sustainability into clear concepts that can guide action and decision-making. The GEMI Water Sustainability Tool can help companies take an important step forward. Each step that we take forward together will help build a healthy environment, healthy communities, and healthy companies.