ActionsThat Marketing Managers Should Take To Address the Challenge of WaterScarcity
ActionsThat Marketing Managers Should Take To Address the Challenge of WaterScarcity
Today,water has become a paradoxical commodity. It affects every continent,and it is among the main challenges facing most societies in theworld. Although it may seem free, its supply is a tremendous strain.Young and Loomis(2014)define water scarcity as the situation whereby the water useraggregate impact impinges the supply. According to the report, theglobal water requirement outstrips supply hence, water scarcity. Thereport also shows that in twenty years to come, one-third of theworld population will live with water deficit of fifty percent orever more. To deal with water scarcity, it requires amultidisciplinary and intersectional approach to manage waterresources. For these reasons, Multinational Corporations are takingthe initiative to come up with approaches to deal with water issues.It is a reality that water is scarce. Now, the question is, how bestare the stakeholders managing demands in the context of increasedinterdependence and competition.Marketingmanagers should address the challenge of water scarcity through waterfoot printing, water neutrality strategy, making water scarcityeverybody’s business, investing in solar energy to produce morewith less water, and through reporting and transparency.
Today,companies face significant business risks that are related to water.UNDP(2006) also predicts that the problem is also likely to increase inthe future. For this reason, companies that are concerned with watershortage, marketing managers should consider water foot printing.This involves measuring the amount of fresh water used in the overallchain to produce a product. The concept of this idea is to measurethe amount of embedded water used in manufacturing a product. Throughthis, they can determine how much water is used in manufacturingoperation hence, they can offset it with recycling, conservation,community projects, as well as water replenishment efforts. Further,water foot printing will help them to understand how the limitedfresh water is used and polluted. In addition, they are able tomeasure accurately the amount of water used in production anddistribution of their products or services. In the end, thesecalculation aids the company with water allocation. For example,Cadbury Company adopted water foot printing policy in theirproduction. As a result, it reduced its consumption of water from tenmillion tons in 2006 to nine million tons in 2007 (Korten,2015).In India, the company is also aiming for zero water discharge. In themeantime, the company has introduced waterless lubrication system inNew Zealand and Australia that is saving millions of liters of waterannually.
Freshwater is a basic ingredient for companies in their operation.Unfortunately, some companies have been known to pollute the localwater systems. Marketing managers should address the challenge ofwater scarcity through water neutrality. That is, offsetting wateruse through community projects, recycling, conservation, andreplenishment (Reddyet. al., 2015).Similar to carbon neutrality, water neutrality offsets waterconsumption by balancing water accounts. Although this strategy facesmany critics, it helps companies to identify and reduce the use ofwater, as well as educate the public about water shortage. Besides,marketing managers can support healthy watersheds, sponsorclean-water projects, and implement technological solutions. In doingso, their companies with theoretically save and replenish high amountof water in their production.
Forinstance, coca-cola company set an inspirational goal in 2007 ofwater neutrality for an equivalent amount of water it uses for theproduction of its beverages. The company manager says it participatedin over two hundred and fifty community projects in seventy countriesin 2009, and as a result, it offset twenty-two percent of water usedin the production of its beverages (Giulio,Merle, and Martin, 2009).Further, a business can take the initiative to reduce theiroperational water, and strive to use the best available technology.Also, as Bracket. al., (2015) urges, businesses have the influencing power thatthey can use to reduce operational footprint. Additionally, they canchange their suppliers to those with smaller water footprint.
Actionsto cope with water scarcity are necessary at international level,national level, and local level. At the international level,marketing managers should seek to increase cooperation to deal withtrans-boundary water management issues. In addition, they shouldfocus on dialogue and negotiations to optimize the largely societalbenefits of water. At the national level, they should come up withpolicies and governance to deal with water scarcity, as well asaddress how to use water in an equitable way. According to Gleickand Ajami (2014),businesses are paramount to the process of decision-making andformulating water policies. At the local level, marketing managersare vital in all fields. They should come up with water initiativeswhere other organizations and individuals can join them to fightingthis problem. They can donate to these initiatives either with theirtime, skills, funds, or with anything else that they can afford.Further, the marketing managers can educate water users on thesignificance of water, as well as how to conserve it. Firstly, theyshould educate those not dealing with the water scarcity on how toavoid the problem. Additionally, they should educate those dealingwith the issue of how to prevent the problem from becoming moresevere in the future (Cosgroveand Rijsberman, 2014).
Accordingto the program manager at Electric Power Research Institute, KentZammit, companies with water challenge should invest in solar energysuch as solar plants (Hoekstra,2014).Additionally, businesses can invest in solar hydrogen that uses fuelcells that have purified water as a byproduct. In doing so, businesswill produce more and at the same time save lots of water. On theother hand, marketing managers can opt for other energies that do notnecessarily need water such as wind energy. These energies, solar andwind have a positive impact on both the quality and the quantity ofwater. Ideally, considering water and energy together, it is possibleto solve two or more problems simultaneously. For instance, capturingsolar energy and at the same time condensing water and using it togrow food. As Hoekstraand Change(2014) urge that increasing water productivity stands as the solutionto water scarcity challenges. Therefore, without future improvement,the amount of water used for domestic, industrial, and agricultureactivities will increase. For instance, the amount of water used incotton production is likely to increase by fifty percent by 2050.
Mostcompanies spend millions of dollars annually while making water fitfor industrial activity and for human consumption and thentransporting it through pipes and pumps, from plants to the point ofuse (Gleickand Ajami, 2014).There is also a high cost of maintaining the infrastructure, as wellas operating and maintaining systems. Additionally, millions ofdollars are spent on equipment, technology, and services. Theincreasing interest on how businesses relate to unsustainable waterrequires greater transparency on consumption and pollution of water.Openness is vital at all levels including product, facility, andcompany level. Investment community and other environmentalorganizations urge businesses to disclose relevant data, as well ashow they relate to water risks. According to Hoekstra(2008),the demand for product transparency is high through certification andlabeling. In Chile, for instance, it is one of the world driest spotand an important mining center and they closely monitor and recordtheir water usage (Tietenbergand Lewis, 2016).This pressures them to use less water.
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