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Water management is an increasing global challenge. By 2025 two-thirds of the world’s population could be living in water-stressed areas. Image from Weatherly International.
The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has published ‘A practical guide to consistent water reporting’ to address global water challenges.

Water management is an increasing global challenge. By 2025 two-thirds of the world’s population could be living in water-stressed areas.

The latest ICMM guide includes a new minimum disclosure standard for external water reporting that will be adopted by ICMM member companies as part of their commitment to the water stewardship position statement which ICMM announced in January.

Members of the ICMM’s include 23 of the world’s leading mining companies.

Under the new position statement, ICMM members commit to publically disclose their approach to water stewardship and report in a consistent and comparable basis using standardised metrics from November 2018.

As with most industries, there is a lack of consistency in the way companies report on their water use. ICMM’s water reporting guide will enable miners to disclose water data in a consistent way that will allow easier comparison of performance.

This new guide will support greater transparency as the industry moves to a catchment-based approach to water management.

ICMM believes that by publicly reporting how much water the industry uses, mining companies can support more sustainable and equitable management of global water resources.

The new guidance is also a vital tool in tracking how the mining industry is helping to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG6 on clean water and sanitation.

[quote]“Water scarcity is a growing global challenge that requires action on every front and ICMM is committed to playing its part,” says Hayley Zipp, ICMM’s water stewardship manager.

“We hope that the wider mining industry will also adopt our new minimum disclosure standard. The mining industry has been improving its water management for many years and we believe that greater transparency on water use will further enhance its performance,” continues Zipp.

“Our members’ commitment to consistent and effective disclosure of their water use is critical to supporting the information needs of governments, local communities and all actors involved in sustainable water resource management.”

Morgan Gillespy, head of water at non-profit sustainability reporting partner CDP comments: “We applaud ICMM and the mining and metals industry for taking this important next step to facilitate the consistent reporting of key water metrics.

“The role of business in delivering water security is critical and the business case for reporting on this topic clear – you cannot manage what you are not measuring. We are seeing growing interest from investors, and many that are increasingly looking at the approach companies take to understand and better manage risks and opportunities around water security.

“CDP works hard to reduce the reporting burden for companies and we are especially pleased that ICMM’s approach is aligned with other existing reporting standards, including our own”.

Jason Morrison, head of the CEO Water Mandate states: “Society will not be able to meet the sustainable development challenges of the 21st century without improving the management and use of global water resources.

“We welcome ICMM’s leadership by putting water stewardship front and centre of their work and would encourage other industries to follow this lead.”

Feature image credit: Weatherly International