Conserving water, improving water quality and promoting access to clean water
Water is a critical input to agriculture. About 70% of annual freshwater usage is attributed to food production. Unfortunately, water shortages affect more than 40% of the global population and are projected to rise. Cargill has an important leadership role to play in working with partners across our value chain to accelerate sustainable water solutions that protect water quality and quantity and promote access to clean water.
Water is a complex global issue that requires a local approach. Water challenges vary across the regions where we operate and from which we source raw materials, and range from having too much water, to not enough water, to poor water quality and access. Cargill’s global ambition is to achieve sustainable water management in all priority watersheds in operations and supply chains by 2030 by applying a context-based approach.
We define sustainable water management as effectively balancing and addressing the shared water challenges of availability, quality and access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), using an approach that is informed by local context. We focus our efforts where it matters most, and where we can drive change: water usage in our operations and in the priority watersheds where we operate and source from.
Within our operations we have implemented a set of global requirements for water that address our commitment to ensuring access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and ensure understanding, compliance and reporting of water usage, impact and risk.
We have completed water risk assessments for our operations and identified priority watersheds. Our operations in these watersheds will implement the Water Management Excellence program, which includes a set of sustainable water management and water stewardship practices, aligned with the Alliance for Water Stewardship standard.
Cargill is committed to working with farmers and other partners to advance sustainable practices that improve soil health, and water resiliency and quality. Many of those solutions also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase farmer prosperity.
Some of our other actions include:
- Screening our agricultural supply chain for exposure to water scarcity, water quality and access to safe drinking water in order to identify priority watersheds where we will focus our efforts in addressing shared water challenges
- Partnering with leading NGOs including the World Resources Institute and The Nature Conservancy to apply guidance for setting targets informed by watershed context at a global level. Taking a context-based allows us to drive meaningful change as our interventions reflect both our water footprint and the severity of the water challenges in the local watershed.
- Cargill is a proud signatory of the CEO Water Mandate, a UN Global Compact initiative that mobilizes business leaders on water, sanitation and the Sustainable Development Goals. Our strategy aligns with the six core focus areas outlined by the Mandate.