SDG 6 Bubble Storming Series-Part 4

SDG 6 -Top 20 risks for businesses by not prioritizing underlying Targets

Image showing SDG 6 Integration Risks and Opportunities in the form of closed doors.
Photo by Pixabay on SDG 6 Integration Risks and Opportunities

SDG 6, which is the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal focused on clean water and sanitation, is directly related to a business operation in a number of ways. Let us review the top 20 risks for businesses for not focusing on SDG 6 on priority and some business opportunities presented to businesses by prioritizing SDG 6.

Businesses have a responsibility to manage their water use and ensure that they are not depleting local water resources. This can involve implementing water-saving technologies, recycling water where possible, and monitoring and controlling pollutant discharge. Companies can take measures to ensure that their suppliers and partners are also adhering to sustainable water use practices. This can include working with suppliers to identify water-saving strategies and incorporating sustainability criteria into the procurement process.  Companies can design products that are more water-efficient, use less water in their production, or are made from materials that require less water to produce. Businesses can work with local communities to improve access to clean water and sanitation facilities, for example by establishing water filtration systems or supporting community-based sanitation programs.

Overall, SDG 6 presents both a challenge and an opportunity for businesses to take an active role in promoting sustainable water use and improving access to clean water and sanitation. By doing so, businesses can not only make a positive social and environmental impact but also enhance their reputation and potentially gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

TOP 20 Business Risks of not Focusing on SDG 6 on Priority.

Not integrating SDG 6 as a primary goal in the business operations poses a significant risk to the operating business and these are short-term, mid-term, and long-term risks that the business may encounter. 

  1. Water scarcity: Companies that rely heavily on water resources may face risks related to water scarcity, which can impact their operations, supply chains, and reputation.
  2. Water pollution: Companies that discharge pollutants into water bodies may face regulatory, legal, and reputational risks.
  3. Non-compliance: Companies that fail to comply with water-related regulations may face fines, legal action, and reputational risks. In addition to this non-compliance may increase their operational costs for additional mitigation processes.
  4. Public opposition: Companies that engage in water-intensive activities, such as mining or agriculture, may face opposition from local communities, NGOs, or other stakeholders, which can impact their social license to operate.
  5. Climate change: Companies that rely on water resources may face risks related to climate change, such as droughts, floods, or changes in precipitation patterns.
  6. Supply chain risks: Companies that source water-intensive raw materials or products from water-stressed regions may face supply chain risks related to water scarcity or pollution.
  7. Water-related accidents: Companies that operate in water-intensive industries, such as shipping or fishing, may face risks related to water-related accidents, such as oil spills or shipwrecks.
  8. Operational disruptions: Companies that rely on water resources for their operations may face risks related to operational disruptions caused by water scarcity, pollution, or climate change.
  9. Reputational risks: Companies that are perceived as not taking water-related issues seriously may face reputational risks, which can impact their brand image and customer loyalty.
  10. Market risks: Companies that fail to adapt to water-related challenges may face market risks, such as declining demand or competition from more sustainable alternatives.
  11. Financial risks: Companies that fail to address water-related risks may face financial risks, such as increased costs, reduced revenue, or decreased access to capital.
  12. Human rights risks: Companies that engage in water-intensive activities may face risks related to human rights, such as violations of the right to water or displacement of local communities.
  13. Inefficient water use: Companies that use water inefficiently may face risks related to resource depletion, which can impact their long-term viability.
  14. Lack of stakeholder engagement: Companies that fail to engage with stakeholders, such as local communities, NGOs, or governments, may face reputational risks and opposition to their operations.
  15. Regulatory risks: Companies that operate in water-intensive industries may face risks related to changing water-related regulations, which can impact their compliance and profitability.
  16. Inadequate monitoring and reporting: Companies that fail to monitor and report on their water-related impacts may face risks related to transparency, accountability, and regulatory compliance.
  17. Limited innovation: Companies that fail to innovate in their water management practices may face risks related to competitiveness, operational efficiency, and long-term sustainability.
  18. Lack of collaboration: Companies that fail to collaborate with other stakeholders, such as government agencies or NGOs, may face risks related to incomplete information, inefficient resource allocation, and reputational damage.
  19. Poor water quality: Companies that rely on water resources for their operations may face risks related to poor water quality, which can impact their operations, employee health, and customer satisfaction.
  20. Lack of awareness: Companies that lack awareness of water-related risks may face risks related to missed opportunities, inefficiency, and failure to adapt to changing market conditions.

    Opportunities presented by SDG 6 Business Integration

    In the SDG 6 Bubble Storming Series Part 3, we reviewed how the SDG 6 targets are interdependent on each other. As more or more companies focus on SDG 6 integration in their business operations, they create significant opportunities for their sustained business over the years. Some of them are as follows.

    1. Improved reputation: Companies that show a commitment to being socially responsible and contributing to the achievement of SDG 6 are seen as ethical, sustainable, and trustworthy. This can help attract new customers, potential partners, and employees.

    2. Better resource management: SDG 6 promotes the sustainable use of water and sanitation resources. By integrating this goal, companies can reduce their use of resources, minimize waste, and lower their operating costs.

    3. Mitigating risks: Businesses that operate in areas with water scarcity or inadequate sanitation face many risks. Adopting practices that align with SDG 6 can help these companies to manage these risks more effectively.

    4. New business opportunities: Companies that invest in water and sanitation can enter new markets that are focused on sustainable development. By creating innovative, sustainable products, companies can tap into a growing market that values sustainability.

    5. Enhanced stakeholder engagement: By aligning with SDG 6, companies can engage with stakeholders at all levels, fostering closer and stronger relationships with customers, suppliers, investors, and communities.

    6. Improved regulatory compliance: SDG 6 is integrated into many international and national policies, regulations, and frameworks. By integrating SDG 6 into their operations, companies can ensure they are meeting their obligations and avoiding penalties.

    7. Increased financial stability: Investing in sustainable and responsible water and sanitation can lead to increased financial stability over the long term, as these investments are more resilient to changing market conditions, natural disasters, and other disruptions.

    Let us look at the top 50 companies helping India’s progress towards achieving SDG 6 goal in my next post. Follow the blog for yet another insightful SDG 6-related content.



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      2 thoughts on “SDG 6 Bubble Storming Series-Part 4

      1. Enjoying this, Amaraja. When the SDG12 Corporate Guidebook is out, you can recommend 12.2 to readers. SDGs 12.2 material efficiency and 6.4 water efficiency work side-by-side together for sustinability.

        Liked by 1 person

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