Water Stewardship and Business Value: Creating Abundance from Scarcity (Paperback) book cover

Water Stewardship and Business Value

Creating Abundance from Scarcity

By William Sarni, David Grant

Foreword by Stuart Orr

© 2018 – Routledge

148 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

e–Inspection Copy
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138642553
pub: 2018-03-08
Hardback: 9781138642546
pub: 2018-03-06

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The tangible value of increased water efficiency, reuse and recycling and improved social license to operate are moving more companies to adopt water stewardship strategies. This book frames an expanded strategy for water stewardship and business value creation, including brand value, that benefits a range of stakeholders including consumers, customers, investors and employees.

The book shows that until recently the linkage between full business value and water stewardship has been missing from the corporate agenda. This linkage and value creation from a leading water strategy is increasingly important to socially responsible investors and "aspirationals" who value companies that have a social mission or focus to their overall business strategy. In general the largest portion of a company’s market capitalization is intangible value and understanding how a water strategy contributes to this intangible value is essential.

The authors include cases studies and a framework or path forward to guide companies as they seek to build leading water strategy that goes beyond water stewardship to drive full business value from this investment. The book establishes the linkages and value from an integrated water and business strategy and an approach for companies to follow.


"This thought-provoking book will undoubtedly spark debate. And that is exactly what water practitioners and business leaders need. The current narrative around water stewardship is not transforming business practices rapidly enough. It needs to be challenged. Water Stewardship and Business Value certainly does that and I recommend it to anyone interested in working with businesses to ensure that freshwater ecosystems and their services sustain people and nature." - Stuart Orr, Freshwater Practice Leader, WWF International

"The authors provide an authoritative and very accessible analysis of the value of water for society, for business and for the planet. The discussions are especially useful in revealing the changes that are taking place in the corporate world in its understanding for the value of water and the consequences of mismanaging it." - Tony Allan, King’s College London and SOAS, UK

"In this important new book, the authors cast an unflinching eye on the appropriation of the ‘water stewardship’ label by both public and private sector actors. They rightly distinguish between tactical approaches to water as an issue to be managed, versus strategic engagement with how water is valued. Through their narrative of abundance, Sarni and Grant give fresh impetus to a debate that desperately needs perspectives such as these." - Alex Money, University of Oxford, UK

"How do you navigate and respond to a multidimensional global challenge like water stewardship in the 21st century? If you're like me, you seek out help from 'global navigators' like Willam Sarni, who not only understand the important linkages between water stewardship and business value, but is adept at navigating the people, processes and innovations that are critical to sustainably managing water-related resources. Water Stewardship and Business Value is a must-read for anyone looking to elevate the value of water and advance a stewardship strategy within their organization." Josh Henretig, Senior Director, Environmental Sustainability, Microsoft Corporation

"Water, at its core, is a business and economic issue. It's imperative that the business community and elected officials rally together towards abundance. Water Stewardship and Business Value is an actionable and approachable framework to do just that." - Michael Parker, Vice President of Public Policy, Salt Lake Chamber, Office of Public Policy and Government Relations, USA

"This is a must read for companies and governments ready to embrace the water innovation opportunity. A proactive approach to water will drive shareholder value, attract talent and play a central role in maintaining a company's social license to operate and business growth. Sarni and Grant highlight implementable solutions that go beyond the traditional CSR model and position water as business strategy." - Scott Bryan, President, Imagine H2O

"This book is sure to make an important contribution towards understanding and articulating businesses role in a sustainable water future. By focusing on abundance, Sarni and Grant offer a more optimistic and aspirational alternative to the risk-based narratives that have dominated the water stewardship discourse to-date. My hope and expectation is that this book provide motivation for businesses seeking to articulate a positive water stewardship vision, while providing reassurance for those who remain skeptical of business motives regarding water." - Adrian Sym, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)

"Sarni and Grant provide a compelling case for the development and implementation of water strategies that include, but go well beyond, good water management and stewardship. To do so, they call for an expanded view of the value of water with a focus on innovation and multiple benefits beyond water. This highly recommended book provides key insights and information for both the private and public sectors regarding opportunities to create value." - Robert Wilkinson, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, USA

"Water Stewardship and Business Value is a comprehensive compendium of successful case studies. Sarni and Grant provide a fast-track guide for companies that desire to wed strategic plans with innovative water management approaches. Businesses that need this scarce and finite resource to succeed are shown how to challenge the status quo and transform their approach to corporate social responsibility. Those that value water and see their growth through a lens of social impact and societal progress clearly will have a competitive advantage." - Eleanor Allen, CEO, Water for People

"What makes this book different is that it takes the subject of stewardship and accelerates it to consider value, motivation, opportunity, and competitive creation. It is incredibly timely as we search for more circular sustainable water solutions that both bring and offer value to society and natural ecosystems. This book should be read by corporate strategists and water stewardship teams that see impactful stewardship as a fundamental business and social development strategy." - James Dalton, Global Water Programme, IUCN

"Business executives are increasingly aware that, somewhere in their operations or supply chain, water is a critical input that’s at risk. Companies need new, smart strategies to navigate a competitive, water-constrained world. In this timely book, Sarni and Grant argue that the idea of "water stewardship" has been stuck in the dated thinking of corporate social responsibility. It’s time, they say, to view water as an innovation opportunity – one that can protect and create value for business and society. This is sound advice that business leaders should heed."- Andrew Winston, Corporate strategist and author of Green to Gold (John Wiley & Sons) and The Big Pivot (Harvard Business Review Press)

"Will Sarni and David Grant have done an excellent job of reviewing industry’s past efforts to conserve this precious resource, and they point the way to an exciting future. Ford is honored to be featured as a case study." - Susan M. Rokosz, Senior Environmental Engineer, Ford Motor Company

"Will Sarni and David Grant understand that what ultimately motivates investors is investment opportunities. And that’s true for water too. Perhaps for too long the focus has been on the defensive end of water risks and ‘water stewardship’. But really, what we’re interested in is capturing the opportunities that arise between denial ("what risk?") and outright panic ("oops"). This book provides some excellent ideas on how to do that." - Piet Klop, Senior Advisor Responsible Investments, PGGM Investments

"David Grant is one of the foremost thinkers in corporate water risk, having led cutting edge water footprinting, scarcity research and watershed protection partnerships across virtually all continents. Will Sarni is one of the most creative thinkers in the water and growth space. Together they present a compelling overview of what the water challenge means for businesses and their brands - and the economic growth and sustainable development that we all depend on" - Andy Wales, Former Senior Vice President Sustainability at SABMiller and Visiting Business Fellow at the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford, UK

"The effort required to create the conditions for economic growth, political stability, social development and planetary health is truly collective. This book is an invaluable guide for companies seeking to understand the role that they play and to realise the value of water in their operations. It outlines the crucial journey from water management to stewardship and, ultimately, strategies to deliver abundance and create business, societal and environmental value." - Giulio Boccaletti, Chief Strategy Officer and Global Managing Director, Water, The Nature Conservancy

"This timely and well-researched book provides deep insights into how our relationship with water is changing. The overall theory and framework is built up logically and sequentially and at each stage illustrative case studies with leading global brands are used to underpin this and show examples in practice. The insightful corporate case studies are well researched and illustrate the strategy and tactics being adopted by leading corporations as they move from water management to deal with scarcity, to water stewardship and creating value and water abundance. As such, it represents a practical theoretical framework to view and understand our changing relationship with water and presents it an accessible way that helps contextualise this for the reader." - Paul O’Callaghan, CEO, BlueTech Research

"After taking us on the journey through corporate water activities - fantastically illustrated by some remarkable examples from across industries - Sarni and Grant present an optimistic view of how disruptive technologies & new business models enable us to address some of the world’s most important sustainability challenges. A must read for all corporate sustainability practitioners." - Maeve Hall, Manufacturing Sustainability, Unilever

"With a forward-looking perspective, and a problem-solving mindset, Sarni and Grant shed new light on the potential role of the corporation in addressing water insecurities. They effectively illustrate a pathway for moving ‘beyond stewardship’, and point towards how corporate capabilities can be leveraged in innovative ways. As such, their work is a timely and imperative contribution to the debate. Water Stewardship and Business Value is a critical read for anyone seeking to understand how to advance corporate contributions to solving one of the greatest challenges of our time." - Thérèse Rudebeck, Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, UK

Table of Contents

Foreword by Stuart Orr


Part I: The Basics

Chapter 1: Why Water and Business Value?

Chapter 2: Valuing Water

Part II: Corporate Water Stewardship

Chapter 3: Water Stewardship Strategy

Chapter 4: Reputational Risk

Chapter 5: Water Stewardship and Brand Value

Part III: Value Beyond Water Stewardship: Creating Abundance

Chapter 6: Creating Abundance

About the Author

William Sarni is an internationally recognized leader on water strategy and innovation and CEO of Water Foundry, Colorado, USA, based in Denver. He has authored numerous books and articles and presented on the value of water, innovations in digital water technology, the circular economy and the energy–water–food nexus. He has been a water strategy advisor to private- and public-sector enterprises and NGOs for his entire career. He has worked with multinational companies across a range of industry sectors in evaluating the technical viability and market potential of innovative water technologies, market entry strategies and M&A programs.

David Grant currently heads the Sustainable Development function for AB InBev’s Africa Zone based out of Johannesburg, South Africa. Prior to this, he was Senior Global Manager: Water Risk & Partnerships at SABMiller plc, based in Woking, UK. He has over 18 years’ experience in sustainable development, delivering transformational social, environmental and economic programs to ensure business continuity, brand protection and corporate leadership.

About the Series

Earthscan Water Text

This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to the study of water and water resources, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes main and supplementary textbooks, and is aimed at the growing number of students taking advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses on water-related topics. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Tim Hardwick, Senior Commissioning Editor (tim.hardwick@tandf.co.uk).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Business Development