The Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) and The Water Council (TWC) announced a partnership to deepen ties and accelerate water innovation and stewardship in the bi-national Great Lakes region, the engine of the North American economy and guardian of the largest freshwater system in the world.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with The Water Council, a world-class global hub in Milwaukee that is dedicated to solving critical water challenges and advancing water stewardship,” said Mark Fisher, president and CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region. “Working together with companies across all Great Lakes sectors, as well as other stakeholders, we can ensure the region’s vital water resources are protected for future generations to come and remain a competitive advantage.”
Water sustains life on earth and our livelihoods. Unsurprisingly then, the bi-national Great Lakes area’s freshwater resources maintain vital ecosystems and industries, as well as the well-being of over 100 million residents who live in the Great Lakes basin and beyond in the broader region.
The partnership between CGLR and TWC provides a framework for mutual support and collaboration to advance corporate sustainability performance and water stewardship across the region.
With the Great Lakes holding 20% of the world’s and 84% of North America’s freshwater, the region’s surface freshwater may appear abundant. In reality, its water resources are finite and fragile. Only 1% of the Great Lakes, for example, are renewed annually by precipitation, runoff and groundwater, and our water systems above and below ground are constantly at risk of pollution and depletion, with a rapidly changing climate worsening water stress.
As part of the collaboration, CGLR will help TWC grow its WAVE: Water Stewardship Verified program, an initiative that helps companies follow a strategic process to understand their water uses and impacts, assess associated risks across the enterprise and prioritize the highest risks. Companies that complete the WAVE will have their water stewardship work verified by an independent third party, SCS Global Services, which provides the credibility key stakeholders are expecting.
“Companies headquartered in the Great Lakes may think they are immune to the impact of today’s water challenges, but the vast majority of these companies operate at a global scale. Therefore, they need to look at their entire enterprise and at the same time be cognizant of their global supply chain,” said Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. “We are extremely pleased to be working closely with the Council of the Great Lakes Region to place this area at the forefront of strong, verified water stewardship.”
For its role, TWC will help CGLR launch and run a new regional effort called the Great Lakes Water Innovation and Stewardship Exchange, or Great Lakes WISE, a business-led forum for deepening peer-to-peer conversations, policy research, and advocacy about water resources protection, best practices and challenges requiring leadership and action by corporations and government in the region.