Summary of Outcomes

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					Summary of Outcomes
      July 2007
   Our thanks to
Forum Sponsors
Summary of Outcomes
The second Water Stewardship Forum (WSF) was held in Melbourne on 14 June 2007. The
objective of the Forum was to seek endorsement for the concept of a water stewardship ‘tick’
mark from a broad cross-section of stakeholders, to identify and discuss issues that will arise in
developing the concept and agree a pathway for further development of the concept.

Definition of Water Stewardship
The concept of water stewardship was introduced by the Water Stewardship Concept (WSC)
Team – individuals with experience in the development of similar schemes in a variety of sectors.
The meeting heard that at the core of the concept was a standard that would define the idea
of responsible water use and ensure a common understanding of what responsible water use
would mean for commercial users.

This would be supported by a strong brand that would provide both market recognition for those
who met the standard and encouragement for those who did not. Compliance with the standard
would be verified through a certification programme that would be essential to establish
credibility. The system would be supported by a governance system that recognised people and
organisations with an interest in responsible water use and maintained the trust and confidence
of those stakeholders in the system.

Moving Forward
Participants were happy with the work of the WSC Team to date but were anxious to convey
a sense of urgency – the momentum of the Forum needed to be maintained and the WSC
Team needed to move quickly to follow-up on the work of the Forum. Quick wins are needed to
establish the relevance and potential of the concept. It was felt there are opportunities to harvest
‘low hanging fruit’. The team was referred to the work of ICLEA as an example.

Key issues identified by the Forum for further work included:

• Greater definition of the concept. Participants wanted to see a more developed model or
  ‘straw man’ that would allow them to better understand the concept. This could be illustrated
  with some case studies involving companies who participated in the Forum.
• Principles of responsible water use. Participants felt this was important work that should
  proceed in parallel with work providing greater definition of the concept. It would start to
  define the key principles of responsible water use.
• Relationships with existing standards and systems. Participants wanted to see a catalogue
  of water management and stewardship standards that already exist so they could understand
  where water stewardship would fit and how it would work with other initiatives.
• Funding/infrastructure. Participants felt that further development of the initiative did not
  need to involve large infrastructure and that funding required should be sought immediately
  for the next phase of development.
• Phased or step-wise approaches to responsible water use. Participants saw merit in a
  stepwise approach to a water stewardship system – one that would acknowledge ‘entry level’
  participation, an ‘on the way’ participant and recognition of outstanding water ‘stars’.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
Looking Ahead
A three month time period was seen as appropriate to undertake further development of the
concept and address the issues referred to above, prior to a follow-up meeting.

Rather than a formal governance system to oversee further development, it was felt a reference
group could be assembled to provide the concept team with a sounding board for their work
prior to the next stakeholder meeting. A number of participants indicated that they would be
interested in being part of such as reference group.

The WSC Team welcomed the Forum’s strong support for the concept, and committed to keep
Forum attendees fully informed of further developments over the coming months.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
Water Stewardship Forum – Next Steps
Immediately following the Forum the WSC Team met to develop a detailed follow up plan, to
maintain the momentum to develop the WSC.

Following the recommendations of the Forum, the Team proposes the following actions over a
six month period:

1. Clarify the vision
The team will develop a short, clear ‘vision’ statement describing the aims and objectives of the

2. Establish a WSC Reference Group
The WSC Reference Group would consist of approximately 12 individuals with a strong
commitment to the WSC, ready to contribute a limited amount of time to reviewing and
commenting on the development of the concept over the next six months. The Team will identify
potential members of the group and develop terms of reference in consultation with them.
Group members would commit to review and comment on draft documentation, and attend up
to three half-day meetings in Melbourne or Sydney over a six-month period.

3. Collate and analyse information on existing water conservation standards and programmes
The team will collect and analyse relevant examples of standards and approaches from
programmes in Australia and overseas that focus on or incorporate consideration of water
conservation and stewardship. The results will be summarised and a report be prepared and

4. Principles and Options Paper
The team will develop a comprehensive ‘Principles and Options’ Paper covering standards,
branding, verification systems and governance. For each section the Paper will propose the
main principles that a successful water stewardship system will need to adopt, identify major
options, and propose a recommended approach.

5. Rivers Symposium
Team members will attend the Rivers Symposium event in Brisbane in September to present the
WSC to a wider international audience, and as the basis for broader stakeholder communication
and involvement.

6. Company case studies
The team will identify and work with three (or more, depending on interest and funding)
companies to test the feasibility and value of the WSC in some real life scenarios. The case
studies will be ‘virtual pilot tests’ – asking companies to consider the recommended options
(refer to action 4 above) and to envisage how they could utilise the WSC as described to add
value in their own particular context, and what would be the implications for their work.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
7. Consumer research
In parallel to the company case studies, the Team will carry out initial consumer research to test
the value of the WSC with consumers and consumer-facing retailers. Does the idea resonate?
What would be the key consumer requirements for a ‘Water Steward’ tick mark? How would a
tick mark change consumer behaviour?

8. Stakeholder communication
Throughout the planned programme the WSC Team will circulate draft and final versions of its
reports to WSF attendees and will publish final documents on the WSC website. The Team will
gradually develop the website, adding additional resources and links and including an automatic
stakeholder registration feature.

9. Third Water Stewardship Forum
Finally, the team will convene a third Water Stewardship Forum stakeholder meeting. The team
will present the key elements of the proposed WSC to stakeholders for review and debate. The
details will be finalised at the time, but the team would expect to present:

• draft Water Stewardship standards;
• the proposed organisational structure for verification;
• the proposed long term governance structure;
• brand specifications;
• a clear road-map to bring the WSC through pilot testing and into operational reality as
  quickly as possible.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
Forum Overview

Opening Statement – Michael Spencer
Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of myself and my colleagues – Matthew Wenban-Smith, Angus Kinnaird, Sam Ponder
– may I welcome you to Aitken Hill for our second Water Stewardship Forum.

I would particularly thank our sponsors for their support and faith in the Water Stewardship
Team. Without their leadership we would not be here today discussing what could be described
as a world leading initiative. Thank you to Landcare Australia for getting behind this initiative and
providing some of the interim organisational infrastructure. Finally thank you for participating
and for the comments and questions you provided to help us structure today’s forum.

We may not cover off all the points you raised but if we don’t it is more than likely because they
are issues that need to be resolved through the development of the Water Stewardship Concept.

A few quick housekeeping matters:

• Mobile phones – can you please turn them off during the sessions
• Please be aware we have invited some journalists to join us for the morning session
• We will try to stick to schedule today so when we break, please let’s try to resume promptly
• Bathrooms are just outside
• In case of emergency listen for instructions but if you hear the alarm make your way to the
  car park assembly area
• We will be sending out a Follow-Up Pack in the next couple of weeks and intend to include a
  list of attendees. If anyone has privacy concerns about having their name included please let
  Kate Kinnaird know.

Before I introduce our first speaker for today let me briefly try to set the scene:

When we first brought together about a dozen people from different organisation last November
to test the idea of water stewardship we were greatly encouraged by the support we received.

Today, with more than 80 people attending – covering a range of industries, from primary
production to retailing, government, environment groups, traditional owners and more – it is
fairly clear that people and organisations are looking for solutions to the problems created by
water scarcity and water quality.

Water stewardship offers an opportunity for business to join with environmentalists, social and
community organisations, indigenous people as well as governments to develop an agreed,
voluntary, market driven response.

We would not claim that every relevant stakeholder is represented here today but we have a fair
cross section of interested people and groups.

Equally, I don’t think we will answer every questions you may have about water stewardship, but
during the day we hope to build consensus around what it means, what it needs and how we
can take this concept forward.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
Solving the problems associated with water scarcity and water quality is not optional. Either
groups such as this take a lead in finding solutions or other people will find solutions for us
– solutions we won’t necessarily prefer.

If water is an issue today, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change it will
only get worse. Global warming will mean more water where there is already plenty and less
water where it is needed.

It is claimed that by 2100, one to three billion people worldwide will be affected by water scarcity.

By the middle of the century the amount of water available per person in the Middle East and
North Africa could be halved.

Up to a billion people in Central, South, East and Southeast Asia, particularly in large river
basins, could face decreased freshwater availability.

In southern Europe climate change is predicted to reduce water availability, hydropower
potential, and summer tourism and crop productivity

In North America, decreased snow pack, more winter flooding and reduced summer flows are
expected to exacerbate competition for over-allocated water resources.

In Australia, the water scarcity problems we are already experiencing are projected to intensify in
southern and eastern regions.

I am sure you have already read these predictions, but what are the implications?

In a recent article, Mikhail Gorbachev and Jean-Michel Severino argued that water scarcity will
exacerbate conflicts world wide.

“Our ability to prevent ‘water wars’ will depend on our collective capacity to anticipate tensions
and to find technical and institutional solutions that manage emerging conflicts” they argued.

The challenge is to preserve scarce resources and ensure equitable distribution among
conflicting needs. “Responsible water use,” the former Soviet President and World Bank Vice-
President argued, “will require adequate economic incentives.”

Disputes over water are already growing. Witness the Murray Darling Basin.

In the United States, South Carolina has filed legal action against North Carolina accusing it of
draining a river that provides drinking water to both States.

These sorts of disputes may be just the beginning. And it won’t only be between states and
countries, it will be between industries and products.

We have already seen the comparisons between embedded water in different agricultural and
industrial products published by organisations such as Waterwise in the UK – an organisation
dedicated to saving the planet one drop at a time.

So who will provide the solutions and what will the ‘economic incentives’ be?

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
The City of Shanghai has one solution. It will track the water consumption of industry based on
the user’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product.

The City has a target of 105 cu m of water used for every 10,000 yuan of gross domestic
product (GDP) by 2010. In 2000, the Shanghai Bureau of Water Affairs says average
consumption was 238 cubic meters for every 10,000 yuan of GDP. It wants that halved.

City officials say that wasteful industries and those that fail their water appraisals would be
denied licenses for water use. Maybe that will become the norm. But water stewardship creates
an opportunity to get ahead of the game. And that is really where this journey started for us.

When we were first approached it was because industry was looking for a way to demonstrate
responsible use of water (best practice) and the finance industry was interested in an ability to
evaluate risks associated with water use.

You might be aware of a recent Pacific Institute report on water risk management by larger
corporations in the United States. It found that while many companies reported on water risks
and water use, there was very little basis for comparison.

We looked around and were surprised, given our experience in different parts of the world, that
there didn’t appear to be a globally accepted concept for tracking and measuring responsible
water use.

Of course we could have just assembled a group of experts and written a standard but that
would have missed the key concept of a stewardship system.

The stewardship concept derives its authority from bringing diverse stakeholders together – who
represent all significant interests in an issue – and gaining their consent and endorsement for
what the standards are and how the system works.

The model we are proposing is based on stakeholder endorsed standards, a credible system
for verifying that those standards are being adhered to and a brand that allows customers to
recognise products conforming with those standards.

We will expand on this in the next session.

But to be successful, a stewardship system needs to deliver win: win: win outcomes. That is all
significant stakeholders need to feel that they achieve an outcome through participation in the
system that they would not have achieved independently.

Industry needs to have a system that is more efficient, simpler and more credible than
something imposed by government, environment groups need to feel that they achieve better
outcomes, traditional owners are respected and communities benefit.

That is always a delicate balancing act. And quite a challenge.

But if offers the benefit of consensus between a wide range of stakeholders, it offers joint
ownership of the solution, it offers the prospect of recognition for industry leaders and it provides
a market-based incentive for improved performance.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
Increasingly, it is a concept that is being sought out by major industry groups. Mathew and I
have experience in forestry, where almost 6,000 companies participate worldwide, and some
recent experience in mining. Matthew also has experience with fisheries.

Just how a stewardship model would work and evolve for water will be determined through
meetings such as this. You are taking part in a meeting at the very start of a process to develop
a water stewardship system.

Our objectives for today will be to seek a mandate from you to continue this work recognising
that at the end of the day, it will need to fund its own existence.

We are also seeking your views on which interests need to be considered if this concept is to
have credibility – which stakeholders need to be around the table?

And from those, which interests need to be assembled for an interim steering group that will
take this initiative from this meeting through a development phase.

Finally, what are the issues that need to be considered in drafting terms of reference for such a
working group?

We will return to these themes through the day.

Now it is my please to introduce our panel of speakers who will give us some insight into the
issues and the interests that need to be considered in discussing a water stewardship concept

We have asked each speaker to take a few minutes to reflect on two questions:

• Why is the concept of water stewardship important to you?
• For a company or organisation to claim to be a responsible water user what would it need to
  be doing?

Our first speaker has been a great supporter of this Forum and is a person with considerable
insights into the issue of water – Mr Ken Matthews, CEO of the National Water Commission

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
WSC Team Speakers:

Governance – Michael Spencer
Thank you to all our speakers this morning. They have given us some wonderful insights and

One of the challenges of course is; how does a system accommodate that diversity of interests in
developing its governance systems and processes?

The truth is there is no one answer. The honest answer is that it depends. It depends on the
level of trust between the stakeholders and the intensity of conflicts that need to be considered.

Where the levels of trust are low and conflict high, governance system will require a more
rigorous system of representation by different sectional groups. For instance, we see this in
forestry where traditionally there are deep divisions between stakeholders requiring careful and
quite deliberate structures to ensure all stakeholders are heard and no one group dominates the
major policy forums.

In forestry members of the Forest Stewardship Council join one of thee chambers – economic,
social or environmental – votes between the chambers are equalised and decision making is by
consensus to ensure trust is maintained.

On the other hand, in fisheries where there is not the same level of stakeholder conflict we see
different arrangements such as a separate stakeholder council that advises a management
board that is not necessarily representative of stakeholders.

These sorts of arrangement inevitably involve a trade off between administrative efficiency and
democratic power sharing. Where we might sit along that continuum will depend on what is
required to secure and retain the confidence of stakeholders.

It is only when stakeholders have confidence in the system that it can build credibility and offer
the benefit of stakeholder endorsement to build consumer or customer support.

These are matter that will be resolved through meetings such as this.

For today, we have limited our goal to seeking your insights into the sort of representation
that would be required to carry a mandate from water stakeholders to develop the concept.
We need a pathway to the next stage of development. It needs to be a pathway based on the
understanding that value will only be delivered to all the parties if there is confidence in the

This group will need to decide where a water stewardship concept would sit in relation to other
initiatives in specific industries. And it will need to ensure that the system delivers value to all the

We believe that water stewardship will occupy and important position crossing different industry
programmes and complementing those other stewardship initiatives in the area of responsible
water use. We also believe that there is significant value to be gained from such an initiative. It
will provide recognition to those willing to lead and it will provide an incentive to those who prefer
to follow. It will deliver outcomes.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
Let’s turn now to the elements of a stewardship system and here I will bring in the other
members of the Water Stewardship team.

I said before that stewardship systems are built on stakeholder endorsed standards,
independent and credible verification of conformity with those standards and a brand that
provides market recognition to businesses that conform to that standard.

This triangle of activities is a common feature of stewardship systems. Each member of the team
will introduce one element of the triangle.

Angus Kinnaird will first discuss the customer facing side of the programme – brand. Angus has
a long interest in water issues having descended from a line of water engineers. But he escaped
to the world of marketing and for the past 20 years he has been advising on global brands. Most
recently he was a strategic consultant with the global branding organisation FutureBrand. He
now has his own consulting business.

Matthew Wenban-Smith will discuss standards. Matthew has extensive experience in this area
having been one of the first employees at the Forest Stewardship Council where he set up that
organisation’s accreditation system. He had a stint at the UK based certifier the Soil Association
before returning to FSC as Head of Policy and Standards where we worked together. He now
consults widely on stewardship systems and standards development.

Same Ponder has very solid experience managing and implementing certification programmes.
He currently manages the Agsafe programme here in Australia which includes programmes
such as Agsafe Guardian, drumMUSTER and ChemClear®. And he sits on a number of
government and industry advisory bodies. Sam will discuss the verification elements of the
proposed water stewardship concept.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
Branding – Angus Kinnaird
[the follow notes paraphrase the introduction delivered by Angus on the day]

Responding to growing demand
While many have been interested in the Water Stewardship Concept as a way to be recognised
for their good corporate behaviour, others are keen to find a way to harness and leverage
the growing motivation to ‘do the right thing’ when it comes to brand selection - whether for
consumption, investment or business partnerships.

The power of individuals and businesses to reward good water stewardship with brand
preference is something that can be harnessed not only by corporate marketers, but also by
manufacturers, retailers and event managers to distinguish their own products or other offers as
the more socially and environmentally responsible choice.

The problem today is that buyers, investors and business partners have no credible way of
knowing whether the brands they are choosing do behave responsibly when it comes to water
stewardship. From a marketing perspective this represents a competitive ‘gap’ that many are
eager to fill. What can be done to gain competitive advantage from the growing, global demand
for more responsible water usage?

Comprehensive brand licensing system
Just as important as a credible system for defining and judging water users’ behaviour is a practical
and cost-effective system for communicating status in terms of accreditation or participation
in the water stewardship scheme. Experience with existing stewardship brand have proven
the need to invest substantial effort to develop a comprehensive, fair, effective brand licensing
system, in order that all participants in the scheme are able to derive a full measure of value.

The main point here is that the creating of value often happens at one step removed from major
water users. If we need a brand that will help people to choose one product over another in a
supermarket, then it must be one that works for the primary producer, manufacturer, wholesaler
and retailer, all of whom form the value chain between the source of demand (consumption) and
its ultimate translation into water usage (e.g. growing a plant or manufacturing a product) . How
can we create a brand that is equally valuable for all compliant users and the partners, including

The need for a potentially global brand
At the first water stewardship forum a number of major manufacturers stressed the need for a
brand that will be equally credible for Tesco shoppers in the UK and Wal-Mart shoppers in the
USA as it will be for Woolworths’ shoppers in Australia. While we aim to develop and launch the
brand in Australia, the longer term goal is to establish a truly global power brand.

All participants need to be able to leverage compliance with water stewardship standards. This
means that competitors like Coles and Woolworths, the opportunity to gain competitive advantage
will often rest on the potential to add value through unique forms of promotion or special recognition
for outstanding initiatives. A final challenge for the water stewardship brand is to establish easy
and effective ways to develop and realise unique, added-value marketing opportunities.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
Developing a global power brand
Each of the points above reflects the need to think about water stewardship branding from a
demand-driven, rather than a standards driven perspective. The 3 steps proposed to develop
the brand are as follows:

Define value opportunities – work with consumer, investor and business marketing experts to
define practical ways for all participants to realise brand value.

Create licensing framework – based on the different type of value opportunities, to establish a
fair, cost effective and potentially global brand licensing system that will allow all participants to
extract and drive value creation opportunities.

Develop brand identity system – develop and guideline a comprehensive and powerful brand
identity system that will deliver the credible brand recognition requirements needed to realise
brand value

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
Standards – Matthew Wenban-Smith
Angus has spoken about the branding of the ‘Water Stewardship’ concept, and emphasised the
importance of creating value in the brand. Creating value for companies who are responsible
water users, and want to be able to communicate this to their customers, investors and other

I am going to talk about the development of Water Stewardship standards, which you could think
of as defining the value in terms of actions and outcomes in relation to water itself. What does
it mean, to be a responsible water user? And how can this be specified in a way which can be
reliably verified?

I would also like to pick up on the theme of multi-stakeholder standards, mentioned by Michael
in his introduction, and emphasise the importance of the multi-stakeholder approach, both in
clarifying what the standard is ultimately designed to achieve, and in building support for the

Before coming to those themes though, I would like to start by considering the applicability, or
‘scope’ of the standard.

Michael and Angus have both spoken about the international importance of water. Water is,
obviously, an international issue. Branding is international too. Products are traded across the
globe, and ‘embodied water’ is traded across the globe with them. To be effective, standards will
need to address this international dimension.

Having said that, of the developed countries, Australia may lead the world in terms of consumer
awareness of water, and in terms of its political importance. The recent drought has ended,
but the issue of water is not going to go away. Perhaps there is time to catch one’s breath, and
prepare for the future.

So, what are the requirements in terms of the applicability of a water stewardship standard?

Firstly, it has to be applicable, and practical, here in Australia. If it won’t work here, it probably
won’t work. The need for water stewardship is clear; the political and business case for action is
clear; and consumer awareness is high.

Secondly, to have the greatest value, standards will need to be applicable and practical across
all the sectors that have major impacts on water.

This implies that they should be applicable to large agricultural users, industry, mining, brewing
and bottling. They may also be usable by water utilities.

It also means that they need to be harmonized with other standards and obligations to which
large users are already committed.

In a federal system, standards will need to be compatible with different state requirements.

So, standards need to nationally applicable across a range of regulatory contexts, and for a
range of quite different large water users.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
Finally, the standards need to take account of the international dimension. Australia is outward
looking in terms of trade. Global companies with operations in Australia also operate overseas.
Imported products have their own water footprint. The value of a water stewardship brand will be
that much greater if it is based on standards that are recognised and applicable not only here,
but also overseas.

What does all of this mean in terms of the design of a water stewardship standard? Most likely it
means that a standard will be hierarchical in its approach.

It will consist of principles and requirements that are generally and consistently applicable to all
sectors, regions and countries.

And it will be embedded in a system that allows for ready adaptation to the specific situation of
individual sectors.

Stewardship standards based on this kind of hierarchical approach have been developed
for a variety of sectors and products. Australia could take the lead in developing and testing
stewardship standards for water.

Standard content and objectives
So, the need is for standards which are widely and consistently applicable, but which can also
be adapted to the specific conditions facing quite different kinds of operations.

But what would the standards consist of? What would compliance actually imply?

The first thing to say here is that it will be critically important to identify and agree upon the
objectives of the standard, before trying to specify any requirements.

• What are the issues of concern?
• What is the outcome (or outcomes) that the standard is trying to achieve?

Unless this is clear, and agreed upon, it will be quite impossible to determine whether the
specific requirements are useful approaches to achieving the desired outcomes.

Implicit in this, and in the value of the brand, is the idea that implementation of the standard
will result in improvements on the ground. Improvements may take place at the level of an
individual site, and/or across a sector or region as a whole.

How much improvement would consumers expect to take place, to justify the additional value
they are asked to place in the brand? If the value added of the brand is to be significant, the
overall impact on the ground must also be significant.

And this leads directly to a further point, which is the cost of compliance. There are, sometimes,
cost savings to be made from compliance with stewardship standards. Generally some
investment is required to realise these savings, whether in equipment, training or research.
Often, however, compliance with specific requirements will be associated with costs. Verification
also has a cost.

The question is whether the benefits of meeting a standard justify the costs.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
The greater the benefits, the greater the value of the brand, the greater is the potential to bear
associated costs. The aim must always be to make compliance as cheap as possible, consistent
with achieving the objectives of the standard.

Every requirement in the standard needs to be tested against this aim. This cannot be done if
the objectives are not clear.

Which, of course, begs the question of who sets the objectives, who decides how much
improvement is enough, and how much cost is too much.

The multi-stakeholder approach
The presentations earlier this morning gave a sense of the range of stakeholders who are
profoundly affected by water, and the range of concerns.

The value of the brand will depend on its recognition, support and endorsement by these

The water stewardship concept will not work without this. If NGOs perceive the brand to be
green-washing it will not have their support. If large water users do not see value in compliance,
they will not implement it. Without support and uptake, the standard and brand will have little or
no value.

Conversely, if environmental and social stakeholder representatives are confident that the
standard will deliver significant environmental and social benefits; if large water users trust
in this support and are ready to implement the standard; and if the whole system is seen as
complementing and supporting the efforts of regulators, then the brand will have value, and the
water stewardship concept could really make a difference.

The multi-stakeholder approach is designed to build this trust and confidence in the standard,
and ultimately in the brand.

The aim is that all affected stakeholders can participate in the development of the standard, and
that participation is perceived as a positive experience.

Stakeholders have to start by trusting the process - it will require some commitment to

Moreover, having taken part in the process, it is important that stakeholders come out of it
supporting the results - or at the very least recognising that the result was the best achievable in
the circumstances - a real win-win-win.

How to achieve this?
Well, it’s not rocket science.

• The process must be clear, and fair.
• The process must be accessible to all affected parties

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
• There must be agreement on what the ultimate objectives are - and stakeholders need to
  know and respect each other’s objectives.
• The process must be transparent. It must be clear what the process is, and how it will
  be followed. Stakeholders must be able to see that their points of view have been heard,
  respected, and either addressed or at least dealt with fairly.
• It must be clear from the start how decisions will ultimately be taken. Decision making power
  must be fairly balanced between different stakeholder interests.

Of course, we do not have to develop these processes from scratch. General procedures for the
development of standards are pretty well established.

These have been taken up and codified, specifically for application in multi-stakeholder social
and environmental contexts by the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and
Labelling Alliance (ISEAL) in its Code of Good Practice, which is gaining wide recognition. It
provides the basis for a sound process.

So, if the Water Stewardship concept looks like it has merit, the basic principles and tools for
standards development already exist.

And that brings me to the end of my presentation on standards

Angus has introduced the idea of creating brand value in the ‘Water Stewardship’ concept. I
have spoken briefly about how a credible multi-stakeholder stewardship standard can help build
this value.

The remaining piece of the puzzle is to ensure that claims of compliance with the standard are
also credible, and contribute further to the value of the brand.

And with that I’d like to hand over to Sam Ponder to talk about verification.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
Verification – Sam Ponder
I will be giving you a quick overview on the final ‘slice of the pie’. That is the benefits of the
verification process which includes certification and accreditation. The themes for verification
are credibility, independence, flexibility and cost effectiveness.

We are aware of other verification schemes which address a host of other issues out there and
likewise are aware that to be successful we must complement other schemes by working with
existing verification programmes to make sure that the water stewardship concept adds value
not cost.

Verification interfaces at the business end of the socio, economic and environmental continuum,
by connecting value between brand, standard and quality management systems. To that end we
are determined to work with what is out there to add value through verification processes.

There are generic procedures that underpin any verification process. The themes are that:

• Verification processes must be credible, carried out by independent and third party
• They must be flexible;
• They must be cost effective; and
• They must provide certification.

In my experience stewardship drives cultural change as new technologies and processes are

Why is credibility so important? How are we going to give it credibility and ensure integrity of the

If a process is not credible then no one will want to participate; and to ensure this, verification
needs to be carried out by independent third party auditors. Credibility gives impetus to
promoting more responsible water management practices and through recognition processes we
consumer preferences can leverage more sustainable outcomes across the water supply chain.

So too, for flexibility. We are not n the business of reinventing the wheel over and over. Third
party verification is necessary to ensure reliability, consistency and transparency, maintaining
consumer confidence.

We need to be flexible because of the nature of business, taking into account an international
audience also involving existing schemes and understanding the length and breadth of industry
across Australia and this includes compliance costs, indeed all business costs must pass the
cost / benefit test.

Verification leads to acknowledgement through a certification process – that means developing
recognition pathways where awareness levels are underpinned by relevant training.

We foresee three steps in the process:

1. Assessing the extend of any existing processes that can be verified;
2. Confirming those existing processes against the requirements set out in the standard; and
3. Providing confirmation that compliance has been achieved through certification.

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
This describes verification in its most simplistic form.

Just to summarise – through water stewardship we are committed to providing credible water
stewardship delivered through independent third party verification processes which are cost
effective and recognised through certification.

We don’t see this as adding to the burden rather adding to the war chest of exiting certifying

Water Stewardship Forum – Summary of Outcomes
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