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Above the need to survive, water is used to fuel our energy usage and many other fields, ultimately playing a role in the bottom line of your business.
Above the need to survive, water is used to fuel our energy usage and many other fields, ultimately playing a role in the bottom line of your business.

How companies can grow in a water-stressed world


By Shannon Ash, Rogerwilco - Jun 14th 2018, 08:19

There are very few consumers that understand the role water plays in our daily lives. Above the need to survive, water is used to fuel our energy usage and many other fields, ultimately playing a role in the bottom line of your business.  

With ongoing, global weather and drought conditions, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for business owners to recognise their barriers and try to grow their business, sustainably, beyond the water crisis. In order for businesses to survive in such an environment, business owners need to adapt to water-conservation commitments that help to reduce risk, while boosting employee resilience and adding value to their customers’ lives at the same time.

Here are a few ways in which businesses can grow in a water-stressed world:

● Invest in water data and insights

Businesses need to take the opportunity to invest and analyse water data so that they’re able to communicate these concerns across to their suppliers, wholesalers and even customers. Without this information, companies will continue to make unrealistic decisions on projects and general business operations. And, not to mention, the minute you’re able to share that information with the necessary groups of people and make decisions based on that, they will start trusting you and taking you seriously.

● Set actionable priorities

Businesses will be able to make clearer decisions and set priorities for investments based on the data they have found. Putting together an actionable plan, based on the information you have, means that employees and customers can hold you accountable for your actions. For example, if your plan as a company is to reduce your municipal water consumption, then consulting with water treatment specialists that can help you set up your own, independent water sourcing option will be part of your plan.

● Incorporate water into a business growth strategy

Marketing and advertising teams can try and incorporate water management into their product or service offerings. For example, extend your product into a market which would benefit the water crisis. If you’re making soap or shampoo products, look at creating a dry shampoo or dry soap range. Or better yet, look at ways to redesign industrial, building and residential systems for lower water usage. Take Nike, as an example, and see how they did it with the waterless dyeing of clothing. At the end of the day, if there is a will, there's a way. And, taking initiative like this, especially in such uncertain times, will mean that your company is going above and beyond to play a role in the bigger picture and contribute to these life-threatening issues.

● Embrace innovation

In an environment where brand loyalty has become something of the past, customers will quickly latch onto brands which show initiative by embracing innovation in times of a crisis. With so much competition around, you cannot sit still with your business and just keep doing what you do. You need to step out of your comfort zone and tackle challenges. The point of innovation is to create a solution to a problem. And if the problem is access to water, you need to design a system that eliminates that aspect out of the picture. Work around the need for water and replace it with something else. Sustainability and innovation are two very hot topics in every industry. If you do your bit to protect the plant, you’re already setting a standard in your industry and showing your customers who you are as a business.

● Integrate water conservation projects into the company culture
Saving water in your own personal space is one thing, but ensuring that your entire workforce saves water is another. Companies need to create this type of culture which, over time, will build resilience. The ultimate objective is to have a workforce that identifies challenges but works together to overcome them.

No matter where in the world, a drought has a massive effect on the economy. The only perk with international industries is access to advanced resource. Global industries are able to deal with and overcome challenges more easily than we are, simply because of their infrastructure and their access to technology. However, it’s up to South African operations to utilise their skills and come up with innovative plans to grow beyond these hiccups. The ability to do so is what will set you apart from the rest.

While water conservation projects and access to insights are only a small piece of the puzzle, there are various ways in which companies can decrease their environmental footprint. Be it through carbon emissions, packaging, sustainability and, of course, water management, it’s up to companies to make a difference for the sake of the environment and their business’s future.


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