Corporate Water Stewardship and the Case for Green Infrastructure

Private sector investment in green infrastructure can reduce water-related risks and provide multiple co-benefits while helping companies achieve water-stewardship goals.

The next few decades of global water infrastructure investment will be transformative, and the choices that both public and private sector actors make now may determine if the global water crisis that looms in today’s headlines will have been a harbinger of things to come or a turning point. This report makes the case for private sector investment in green infrastructure as part of a broader water stewardship approach that benefits companies, stakeholders in watersheds where those companies operate and source their materials, and the global community committed to sustainable development.

An exploration of data, literature, and real-world examples (including case studies from the forestry, packaging and paper, materials, utilities, and food and beverage sectors) has led to the following conclusions and recommendations:

  • Companies around the world are increasingly facing water-related risks.
  • One high-potential but underused corporate water stewardship solution is green infrastructure.
  • By supporting the development of green infrastructure, companies and other stakeholders reap multiple rewards in the form of co-benefits that include and go beyond reductions in water-related risk.
  • By moving green infrastructure to the forefront of corporate water stewardship, the private sector will not only make its own stewardship goals more meaningful and interconnected, it will also help to advance the field of green infrastructure overall.
  • Financing mechanisms provide pathways for companies to invest in green water infrastructure alongside other sectors.
  • ​Now is an optimal time for companies to take leadership roles in the green infrastructure space, building expertise in the type of integrated, creative and at-scale water solutions that are needed for the next century.