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The Business Case for Investing in WASH as a Corporate Water Stewardship Priority (1/4)

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The Business Case for Investing in WASH as a Corporate Water Stewardship Priority (1/4)

The Business Case for Investing in WASH as a Corporate Water Stewardship Priority (1/4)

Posted on November 27, 2022 by Leonardo Rodriguez

Authoring Organizations: WASH4Work
Consulting Organizations: WASH4Work
Universal: Yes
Last Updated Feb 7, 2023

Overview

This is an excerpt of the 1st of 4 findings in the 2021 WASH4Work Insights Report: Raising Our Ambition to Wash Resilience: Unlocking The Co-Benefits Of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene In Corporate Water Stewardship

This excerpt breaks down some of the economic benefits of investing in Safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in the workplace which can be disaggregated into four categories:

▶ Health benefits include reductions in communicable and non-communicable disease incidence, and overall population well-being;

▶ Environmental benefits include reductions in environmental degradation and opportunities to improve resource efficiency;

▶ Socioeconomic benefits include increased economic, educational, and leisure opportunities, particularly for marginalized and vulnerable groups; and,

▶ Resilience benefits include responsiveness, preparedness, and recovery from health and climate-related emergencies.

Benefits

Direct business benefits that relate to core business value: 

Typically easier to translate into financial value Examples:

  • Absence
  • Productivity/efficiency
  • Quality (such as reduced error rates)
  • Staff turnover
  • Operational costs
  • Healthcare/clinic costs

Indirect business benefits that relate to the wider purpose

Typically more challenging to translate into financial value Examples:

  • Employee loyalty and satisfaction
  • Brand value
  • Reputation
  • Social license to operate
  • Labor relations
  • Supplier loyalty
  • Supply chain resilience
  • Improved economic climate

Guidance

How to measure and summarise financial value:

A measure of financial value and efficiency of investment – ‘For every $ spent, how many $s are generated/ lost?’ It is a commonly used indicator since it is simple and can be applied to different situations. This essentially involves two steps:

1. Calculate the total costs and total benefits over your given period

2. Calculate the ratio of costs to benefits - Divide the total benefits over your given period by the total costs to get your ROI

Example

Resource: WaterAid (2018), Strengthening the business case for water, sanitation and hygiene: How to measure value for your business - with Diageo, GAP and Unilever in association with PWC and ODI. 

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This lesson learned reflects the beliefs and experiences of the author, not necessarily the Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, or UN Global Compact.