Global Water CrisisWater is a fundamental resource for the sustainment of human life. The accessibility of clean water throughout many underdeveloped countries is rapidly becoming a detrimental humanitarian problem, a direct result of exponential population growth. And with such swift consumption, usable water sources are quickly drying up and diminishing. Over the past couple of years, daily conservation of water has become a global plea to help preserve water sources for future generations. This may seem like a bleak issue, but there is hope. Many corporations and nonprofit organizations around the world are invested in ending to the global water crisis. Here are eight companies working to end the global water crisis.

8 Companies Invested in Putting an End to the Global Water Crisis

  1. charity: water – Founded in 2006, this nonprofit organization is working to end the global water crisis by providing clean drinking water to citizens in 24 developing countries. charity: water focuses on three methodologies for providing clean water to communities in need: hand-dug wells, drilled wells and rainwater catch equipment that collects the water and sanitizes it. In addition, by collaborating with a number of local partners, the organization has funded more than 24,000 successful water projects as of 2018. Instead of just accepting donations, charity: water inspires people to start their own campaigns to raise money for clean water. Overall, the organization’s efforts have benefitted approximately 8.2 million people and counting.
  2. Global Water Challenge – The Global Water Challenge, also known as the GWC, is part of a leading team of organizations heavily invested in bringing clean water, for both consumption and hygiene purposes (WASH Sustainability Program), to each corner of the globe. While the GWC’s programs benefit entire communities, women’s empowerment is an important area of focus. After all, women are typically responsible for spending a huge portion of their days gathering water to sustain their families. Thanks to its public-private partnerships, the organization has reached more than 1 million individuals to date.
  3. – The organization’s WaterCredit Initiative works with local businesses to provide loans to people who lack adequate water and sanitation resources. The organization mainly works with people through financing safe access to water in efforts to diminish the global water crisis, more sustainable methods and have effectively enabled more than 25 million people to obtain access to clean water and sanitation services.
  4. Drop in the Bucket – Similar to the previous organization, Drop in the Bucket also operates on a community loan basis to fund wells.  The organization has built 300 wells in schools in East Africa since its founding in 2006, recognizing this area as one in need when seeking to address the global water crisis.
  5. PepsiCo – Through partnerships with NGOs such as WaterAid and 2030 Water Resources Group of the World Bank, Pepsi has made it a priority to invest in ending the global water crisis. The company is focused on helping developing communities in the United States, Latin America, India and China by offering strategic grants that teach various methods for effectively conserving water. As of the middle of 2018, the company has donated $40 million to these organizations.
  6. The Nature Conservancy – One of the biggest charitable environmental organizations in North America, the Nature Conservancy concentrates its efforts on the preservation of land and water sources. The organization works in three continents — specifically focusing on Europe, as well as in Latin America and India. With more than one million members actively working to conserve natural landscapes through science and technological means, this group instills hope for future generations.
  7. UN Water – An arm of the United Nations, this agency works in more than 30 countries to provide clean water and sanitary techniques to assist the underprivileged. UN Water uses a data-driven approach to effect change in the countries where it operates.
  8. World Resources Institute – The World Resources Institute (WRI) is focused on the “mapping, measuring and mitigating global water challenges.” One of the organization’s current projects utilizes aqueduct systems as a method for preserving and sustaining water sources. The group is also working to rehabilitate ecosystems, to lessen the burden on diminishing water sources. The WRI is active in more than 50 countries and has global offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States.

– Joanna Buoniconti
Photo: Flickr

However, while big businesses often do not do their share to improve the world we live in, companies like Alcoa who are doing extraordinary work. Alcoa, an enormous aluminum manufacturer based in Pittsburgh, and its charitable foundation gave $36.6 million to charitable causes in 2011. This represents roughly 6.7% of its pretax profits, making it the company that gave the greatest percentage of its pretax profits to charity in a 2012 analysis by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

In March 2013, as part of International Corporate Philanthropy Day, Alcoa announced that it had given over $40 million dollars in grants in 2012. Additionally, its employees provided 800,000 hours of volunteer work that year.

The Alcoa Foundation, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012, dedicates half of its funding to individual Alcoa locations around the world. This money is used to fund local initiatives that improve the communities in which Alcoa operates. Meanwhile, the other half of the foundation’s funding goes to globally focused partnerships aimed at achieving long-term results. Most of these larger programs are run by local communities and employees, ensuring that the big picture is not overrunning small-scale needs.

The purpose of the foundation is two-pronged. First, the foundation aims to improve environmental sustainability by practicing good stewardship. Additionally, it supports education and training where Alcoa can offer expertise to improve manufacturing, the environment, and safety.

The Alcoa Foundation has many significant partnerships that multiply the efficacy of its work. Thanks to joint efforts with Greening Australia, The Nature Conservancy, and Global ReLeaf, the Alcoa Foundation is halfway to its goal of planting 10 million trees by 2020. By working with, the largest U.S. organization for socially minded teens, the Alcoa Foundation launched the largest youth-led aluminum can recycling drive in America. Over 50,000 teens worked together over two months to collect more than one million cans, enough to power New York’s Times Square for roughly a year. A partnership with the American Association of University Women led to Tech Trek, a week-long camp for girls passionate about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). The camp encouraged 70 middle-school girls to pursue math and science in school and their careers.

The Alcoa Foundation’s work is innovative and exciting. It takes aim at enormous global issues, as well as local ones to benefit diverse groups of people and encourage Alcoa employees to improve their communities and the world. The Alcoa foundation is a trailblazer in corporate stewardship, and one can only hope that many more companies will follow their lead.

Katie Fullerton

Sources: Alcoa, Philanthropy News Digest, Forbes
Photo: The Epoch Times

Two Chinese banks pump more money into the developing world than the entire World Bank. The China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China now provide more financing to developing countries than the World Bank.

This relationship is redefining the global development agenda. While the West heralds trade liberalization and financial deregulation, the Chinese model is based around strictly regulated trade and financial markets. China’s finance does not come with the same harsh conditions that many western financing institutions have. A country does not need to liberalize trade nor do they need to take on any new fiscal austerity measures to receive money from China.

In the past fifty years, China has transformed its economy and brought 600 million people out of poverty with its outstanding record of rapid and broad-based development. Yet, in a world that is becoming increasingly conscious about social and environmental issues, China’s lackluster environmental record inhibits it from becoming the global development leader. Increasingly, China’s financial institutions have been losing ground in public opinion over social and environmental concerns.

One example is the Belinga iron ore deposit in Gabon, which was contracted in 2007 between the Gabonese government and the China Machinery Energy Corporation, with financing from the EIBC. The project sparked a strike of union workers demanding better working conditions and the expulsion of foreign workers. It also sparked numerous local protests against the negative environmental effect the project would have on the region. Because of this resistence, the project has been delayed multiple times and may ultimately be denied.

Another example is the EIBC-supported Patuca hydroelectric project in Honduras. Local civil society organizations along with multiple NGOs such as International Rivers and The Nature Conservancy, have expressed significant concern over the accuracy of the project’s environmental impact assessment. The project intends to flood 42km in the Patuca national park and the Tawahka Asangni biosphere reserve.

In order to secure markets in more developed countries, China’s banks will need to adopt established international norms of environmental conservation and social aptitude. Local skepticism and protests are just a few of the environment- and socially-related political risks associated with global development. Not listening to public criticism will only result in delays or losses of projects funded by the Chinese development banks.

China is already well on its way to being the world’s foremost global development powerhouse. With its successful track record and lack of strict conditions, China could very well reach this position in the coming decade- but not before adding substantial social and environmental safeguards.

Kathryn Cassibry

Sources: The Guardian, UNDP, Business Recorder