The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) held its third annual Global Water Stewardship Forum in Edinburgh, Scotland this week, reporting growth in uptake of its Water Stewardship Certification and an expanding membership base.
AWS is a global membership collaboration comprising businesses, NGOs and the public sector. Members contribute to the sustainability of local water-resources through their adoption and promotion of a universal framework for the sustainable use of water – the International Water Stewardship Standard, or AWS Standard which aims to nurture global and local leadership in credible water stewardship that recognizes and secures the social, cultural, environmental and economic value of freshwater.
The AWS Standard is the only framework for water users that is fully compliant with the stringent requirements of ISEAL, the global umbrella organization for credible standard systems.
In 2016, Adrian Sym, Chief Executive of AWS, told OOSKAnews that the Aliance's first Forum “marks the end of the beginning for AWS. The years since our inception have been occupied with building a global water stewardship system. Now this system is operational and gaining traction.”
AWS now reports that the Alliance has doubled its membership since 2016 with active participation from prominent NGOs, businesses, public sector interested parties, and AWS service providers. And, in keeping with ISEAL requirements, AWS will launch Version 2.0 of the AWS Standard early next year.
Regionally, AWS Standard has expanded in the last year, with highlights including:
- Africa: 26 regional stakeholders gathered in Zambia to map out a regional strategy
- Australia: the first irrigation system achieved AWS “gold standard”
- Indonesia: hosted its own AWS Forum
- North America: business and NGO partners are working on a “water synergy” project that seeks to leverage climate change investments that protect water resources
- South Asia: certification of Nestle Waters sites in Pakistan and China
AWS says that the organization now intends to build on past growth in the food and beverage, agricultural suppliers and retailers, textiles and apparel and micro-electronic sectors.
The "AWS Water Stewardship" Prize was awarded to Alexis Morgan, Global Water Stewardship Lead, WWF.