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Corporate WASH Pledge Secures Access To Safe Water, Sanitation And Hygiene For 2.2 Million People Worldwide

Joppe Cramwinckel, Director-Water, WBCSD addresses WBCSD members at Action 2020 India Water Dialogue held in Mumbai

NEW DELHI (26 February, 2016): 38 multinational companies have now signed the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) WASH Pledge – a business-led initiative that secures access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for all employees in the workplace. 11 of the companies are active implementers in India. Over the next three years, commitments to the Pledge will provide direct benefits to over 2.2 million people and indirect benefits to many more.

Unsafe water and poor sanitation claim more lives worldwide than any other cause like war or a natural disaster. It is estimated that about 4 million people die every year die from diseases due to lack of adequate WASH conditions.

Many companies have operations, employees, contractors and customers in regions lacking access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. Their economic, social and environmental impacts can cause illness or fatalities, impair productivity, and restrict markets for some products and services. This in turn restrains the growth of a country’s economy.

Several companies have committed to the WASH Pledge thereby taking the first conscious step in the direction of ensuring WASH for their employees. The Pledge is a business-led initiative that secures access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for all employees in the workplace within three years.

“I am glad that companies with operations in India have found the WASH at the Workplace Pledge as an effective tool for demonstrating their commitment to Swachh Bharat, and to play their part in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. It is heartening to note that businesses are driving the momentum for change, and working to ensure good standards of WASH for their employees” said Joppe Cramwinckel, Director Water at WBCSD. “We have a target of 50 signatories globally by October 2nd this year, and Indian companies are stepping up to help achieve this.”

Roma Balwani President-Group Communications, CSR and Sustainability, Vedanta Resources PLC says “Make in India: zero defect, zero effect brings good news for our businesses, but also brings on us the responsibility to ensure that we do our businesses the right way! Business efforts as on date are significant, but clearly, a lot more effort is needed to scale up the impact of business action. Let’s work together to ensure that we set an example for investment in a healthier workforce and making our business better”

“As a state-owned enterprise, and a key player in the mass-transportation sector in India, I understand our commitment to the WBCSD WASH Pledge is extremely significant. We are currently analysing the gaps for WASH at our maintenance depots and metro stations, and are determined to address them and make a concrete contribution for access to high WASH standards in the country” says S A Verma, Senior Additional General Manager, Environment at Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

Tony Henshaw, Chief Sustainability Officer at the Aditya Birla Group said, “We’ve already rolled out the Pledge to all our sites in all countries of operations, and are tracking performance through our internal management system. The Pledge gives us a set of metrics to measure our performance on WASH standards. I would encourage all leading businesses in India to join this effort and make a major contribution to surpassing the target of 50 signatories globally by October 2nd this year”.

The WASH Pledge was launched in September 2013 as a business friendly initiative allowing companies to ensure that they provide best practice on WASH at the workplace to their employees. It has since been integrated into signatory companies’ existing internal processes – measuring baselines and addressing potential gaps in corporate WASH action plans. India is an important geography where operations of many of the global signatory companies exist. The target is to achieve 50 company commitments by October 2nd 2016.

The 38 multinational signatories of the WASH Pledge include:

Aditya Birla Group, AkzoNobel, Arcadis, BASF, Borealis, BMW, CH2M, CRH India/MyHomeIndustries, Dalmia, Deloitte, Diageo, Delhi Metro, Dow, Dupont, EDF, ERM, Firmenich, Godrej, Greif, HCC,  Intercement, Italcementi, Jain Irrigation, Michelin, MOLGroup, Monsanto, Nestlé, Pepsico, Roche, SABIC, SCA, SGS, Sintesa Group, Solvay, Unilever, UPM, Vedanta Resources and Veolia