Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

What’s your water footprint?

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Survey of 3000 “thought leaders” from NGOs and corporates across 80 countries by the Sustainability Survey Research Program reveals that fresh water is as critical an issue as climate changeSome tidbits from, which covers issues of fresh water:

We know that experts have increasingly pointed to water as an urgent issue, and this was the big finding that Jeff referred to earlier. It’s on the agenda and quite high. Equal level of urgency is climate change, which for us was a bit surprising, given the lead up to Copenhagen last year. It was also different qualitatively from how experts perceive climate change when it comes to the corporate sector. Experts really were saying that companies were relatively effective in addressing their own greenhouse gas emissions, but not feeling that same level of optimism when it came to corporate impacts on their water footprinting.

We identified about dozen [sectors], and a majority of the respondents said that there was a significant and urgent need to change. The water issue is not an issue that’s just going to impact food and agriculture or the beverage industry. It’s going to have far reaching affects across numerous industries, and experts expect actual transformation required across many of these industries over the next decade. It will have a profound affect. 

Sustainability 2.0 may play a role in enabling new forms of collaboration and communities of interest regarding water usage and mitigation within and across corporate walls. Think blogs, wikis, social networking, and twitter:

The software required to manage this has a lot to do with outreach, education, policy engagement, which is really interesting. And that’s probably why experts were saying that companies will be a little less effective on this than climate change because of the necessity of stakeholder relationships and collaborations to address the issue.


Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

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