Mobilizing greater business action to address WASH challenges in the workplace, in communities where workers live, and across supply chains

What is WASH4Work and Why Take Action?

Businesses are increasingly addressing WASH in the workplace, often within the broader context of mainstreaming water stewardship, improving worker welfare and the realization of the human rights to water and sanitaion. However, to meet the ambition of the SDGs more needs to be done, especially to reach women and girls.

WASH4Work brings stakeholders together to coordinate, collaborate, align and amplify efforts to encourage and support business action on WASH to the benefit of communities and businesses themselves and support governments and the public to enable that business action.

With the launch of the SDGs, world leaders have publicly acknowledged that water and sanitation are vital for eradicating poverty and are fundamental to sustainable development everywhere.

Universality is key to SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation); broadening the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) agenda well beyond the MDG-focused household level, to the communities where people spend much of their time. This includes institutions such as health centers, schools and the workplace.

WASH4Work Partners will work in the following areas:

In doing so the initiative brings about the following outcomes:

  • Business skills, finance and other resources are mobilized
  • Governments enable and support business contributions
  • The public and civil society voice demands as citizens, workers and consumers

Take Action Now

Businesses can:
Understand and respond to the impacts that poor WASH in communities has on business operations.
Ensure all employees have access to clean drinking water and gender-separated toilets in the workplace, and leverage influence to bring about changes in their supply chain.
Sign the WBCSD 'WASH in the Workplace' Pledge to embed WASH provisions in internal business processes.
Mitigate negative impacts on community WASH by improving water efficiency, managing pollutants, and treating wastewater.
Monitor water use and invest in water saving and recycling/reuse measures through more efficient practice, technology, and partnerships.
Manage chemical inputs and treat/reuse wastewater to protect the water source that business is so dependent on and that provides water supply to communities.
Work together with governments and civil society to improve WASH access for communities.
Work with the community to assess and manage risks by participating in community water safety planning.
Support local and national government actions to address WASH challenges in the community.
Work with WASH4Work partners to implement on the ground action, learn from others, and share experiences.
In support of Business, Governments can:
Include business within the WASH dialogue.
Develop and/or implement standards for WASH within the workplace, including setting an example by ensuring WASH in all public sector workplaces.
Reflect the role of business in government policy, strategies, and plans.
In support of Business, the Public and Civil Society (citizens, workers, consumers, NGOs) can:
Call on governments to enable business to achieve adequate WASH for employees.
Call on companies to do more to respect and promote the rights to water and sanitation, in the workplace and in communities where companies operate.
Recognize companies providing and promoting WASH for workers, in supply chains, and communities.

Organizations currently engaged in WASH4Work Include: