Concerns around carbon emissions continue to be at the forefront of ESG and sustainability for most organizations. But emissions aren’t the only aspect of the ‘E’ in ESG. Water is essential to all life and responsible water stewardship is necessary to protect this vital resource.
Water data management and reporting are complex, and how data is managed can vary between industries, organizations, and even departments. To address this challenge, many companies are turning to software solutions to streamline their water stewardship programs.
As a result, there’s an increased need for software solutions that can support organizations as they build their water management strategy, align water-related data, report on stewardship progress, and engage stakeholders along their journey.
In this article, we look at the components and underlying technologies that make for an effective software solution for water stewardship programs.
What is a Water Stewardship Program?
A water stewardship program is an initiative that aims to improve an organization’s water footprint while minimizing its impacts on water resources. A comprehensive water stewardship program also helps organizations mitigate water-related risks in their operations and along supply chains more effectively as well as build trust with local governments and communities through shared watershed governance.
What is Water Stewardship Software?
Water stewardship software is a solution that collects water data and streamlines an organization’s water stewardship program. Water stewardship software collects, monitors, and manages an organization’s water usage, water footprints, water stress, and water-related risks.
A robust water stewardship solution also includes the ability to:
- Collect water return data
- Capture water consumption from across your operational processes
- Assess green, blue, and grey water footprints
- Identify water hotspots within operational processes to help reduce water-related risks
Software can help organizations be better water stewards, but not all solutions are equal. A great water stewardship software should always include certain components.
Components That Make Great Software for Water Stewardship
Components are specific functions that a water stewardship software should be capable of doing, all of which should benefit an organization’s water stewardship program. Here are those top components.
Water stewardship software should be cloud-based and automated
With organizations having facilities across the globe, it is necessary for software solutions to be hosted in the cloud, not on-location. The same goes for water stewardship software.
The ability to access software from anywhere simplifies collaboration, sharing, and reporting processes. It also can save time and reduce costs by eliminating the need for expensive servers and equipment.
A cloud-based platform provides the added benefit of simplifying security and easily enabling backups and restore points to be taken. Plus, with many options for data residency, companies with regulatory requirements can ensure their data remains within their country.
Being hosted in the cloud is also necessary for automated data capture. Water data is usually collected from multiple sources across an organization. The right water stewardship software will automate and streamline data collection using an API so you can populate reports directly at the data source.
A water software solution should also be able to automate other tasks, such as:
- Integrating with water frameworks including CDP – Water, SASB, the Water Footprint Network, and more
- Supporting organizational enrollment in the UN Water Mandate
- Using consumption data to model and predict water risks and hotspots throughout your operations
- Determining the operational impacts on local communities from geography-based datasets
Water software that is automated and hosted in the cloud enables organizations to easily monitor, manage, and report on their water stewardship program from anywhere in the world.
Water stewardship software should be comprehensive and secure
A comprehensive water stewardship software compiles water use data, utility information, environmental reports, as well as documentation from multiple locations and across the supply chain, to help organizations mitigate risk and plan sustainably for a water-constrained future.
To do this, a water software solution should be able to:
- Visualize data in real-time and turn complex data into actionable insights
- Conduct and collect water materiality assessments
- Integrate with existing workflows and technologies
It may also include features like:
- Interactive strategy maps for strategy development
- Integrated scorecards for strategy reporting
- Sharable microsites that engage stakeholders
A comprehensive solution also should be secure. Data is a valuable business asset, which is why organizations require confidentiality and security.
This means the software should comply with industry best practices for security requirements and certification. Encryption is also critical to ensure the secure transmission and storage of data.
Furthermore, water software solutions should be secure and protected from disaster, including cyber threats. It should also be capable of threat monitoring and provide the ability to back up data in a secure location.
Water stewardship software should be scalable and auditable
Scalability is essential for growth which is why water stewardship software should be able to grow as an organization does – not just in overall size, but in various needs and requirements.
Additionally, a good water software solution will always reflect the latest industry frameworks and standards regardless of what reporting is required. As standards shift, your water software should be easy to update without having to build from scratch or implement new reporting technologies.
As an organization grows so does its need to have the ability to respond to audits, whether internally or externally. Audits are often conducted for the purposes of:
- Meeting governmental and regulatory requirements
- Meeting client requirements
- Responding to investors
- Risk management
Water stewardship software should be able to support any audit by providing data exports, history reports, and data trails. It should also be able to create audit reports with accuracy and ease. This enhances transparency and accountability and helps build stakeholder trust.
Start your water stewardship journey
Starting a water stewardship journey is no small undertaking, however, it is much easier with the right solution and partner. Ensure the technology you select includes a water stewardship solution that enables your business to:
- Map your water sustainability strategy
- Align your water data from across your organization
- Simplify your water reporting with automation
- Share your water stewardship progress with stakeholders
Need help managing your water impact? We can help. The FigBytes Water Stewardship Solution tracks, measures, and manages water risks and impacts across your organization. Speak to a FigBytes expert today.