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Are businesses doing enough to address the water crisis?

This March, GCX and Sun International will be hosting a Director's Briefing on Water as a Business Risk at The Maslow Hotel in Johannesburg.
We need a lot more water than is available to sustain current population and economic growth.
We need a lot more water than is available to sustain current population and economic growth.
The event aims to share practical insights into the state of the water crisis currently facing South Africa, the impact this could have on your business, water stewardship, and solutions and innovations for managing risks and opportunities in a water-constrained future.

Longer lasting, more severe problem

The recent water restrictions in South Africa drive home the reality of a much longer lasting, much more severe problem. The reality is that we need a lot more water than is available to sustain current population and economic growth. Water crises consistently rank among the top global risks identified by the World Economic Forum (WEF), coming in third in terms of probability this year in Davos.

Understanding the implications of water scarcity has now become a fiduciary duty. Water is embedded into everything we produce and consume, from the simple fruit we eat to the clothes we wear and the technology we use. To put this into context the Water Footprint Network has calculated the volume of water it takes, over a products entire lifecycle, to produce simple everyday items.

On average:

  • One apple costs 125-litres of water
  • A pair of jeans costs 11-litres of water
  • A 250ml glass of beer (from barley) costs 74-litres of water
  • A kilogram of beef costs 15415-litres
  • A kilogram of chocolate costs 17196-litres

Impact global competitiveness

What this suggests is that any significant changes in water quality, availability and price (which is inevitable) will shift entire sectors and their global competitiveness. South African companies are generally not applying sufficient resources to fully understand the extent of this impact on their future business performance.

On top of this we face a number of added challenges. Crumbling infrastructure, corruption, financial resources, skills shortages and lack of political will to authentically address the issue. It becomes clear that it is up to consumers (business as well as individuals) to futureproof themselves.

The Director’s Briefing on Water as a Business Risk will take place on 3 March 2017 from 7.30am to 10am. For more information, go to
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Bernard Jacobs
More information and registeration to attend the GCX / Sun International Better Business Breakfast -
Posted on 3 Feb 2017 10:18

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