Barloworld Celebrates World Water Day 2021

World Water Day, 22 March 2021, is a global celebration of the importance of water, what it means to people and how we can better protect this vital resource. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the 2.2 billion people globally living without access to safe water, withmore people in sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to clean water than anywhere in the world. It is also about taking action in support of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 which aims to achieve water and sanitation for all by 2030.

The theme of World Water Day 2021 is ‘valuing water’ and what it means to us. Water sustains all forms of life and as such it has incalculable value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. It is a finite resource which means we need to safeguard it for our own welfare and that of future generations. The current pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of sanitation, hygiene & adequate access to clean water, as washing hands with soap and water is one of the best protections we have against COVID-19 and other diseases. It has also served to place a spotlight on the global water crisis. 

What water means to Barloworld and how we can make a ‘World of Difference’

In line with our ‘One Barloworld’ philosophy, and our commitment to making a ‘World of Difference’, sustainable development underpins our strategic framework and is further entrenched across the Group through appropriate policies, the Barloworld Worldwide Code of Conduct, relevant aspects of our strategic framework, Group-level aspirational improvement targets, employee induction and training. Our sustainability vision is to be a leader in sustainable development by being a responsible corporate and delivering products, services and solutions that generate sustainable outcomes and realise commercial opportunities for revenue enhancements and cost savings.

Although a relatively insignificant consumer of water, given the nature of our activities, location of our operations and key stakeholder issues, water stewardship is considered material to the Group. Barloworld has long been committed to the achievement of SDG 6 and acknowledges the scarcity of water, and the need for focused water management. Accordingly, we have a Water Use and Management Policy and have also adopted a MAR (Measure, Avoid and Reduce) methodology in order to manage water usage by highlighting exposures and controlling operational costs through water monitoring systems. Already in operation at most major sites, these systems allow for the monitoring of consumption trends, identification of anomalies and mitigation against excessive and/or unnecessary use and identification of water leaks. Some operations have rain water harvesting facilities and also make use of borehole water for irrigation purposes which limits the burden on the municipal water supply. The consumption through boreholes does not in any way negatively or significantly impact on the source. Where applicable, all relevant authorisations from local authorities have been obtained.

We have made a commitment to efficient water use through reduced municipal withdrawals, increased recycling, rainwater harvesting and storage initiatives. This commitment is reflected in the Group aspirational target to improve water withdrawal (municipal sources) intensity by 10% by FYE2020 (2015 baseline). Appropriate targets are being consider for a five year period commencing 2021.

Most of the water we use is sourced from local municipal and government supply systems and used predominately for the washing of vehicles, plant and equipment and the Group also recycles water and harvests where possible. Water efficiency initiatives in Avis Budget include recycling and rainwater harvesting. Such measures have resulted in significant water savings which would otherwise be drawn from municipal supplies. The business has achieved significant water savings.

Nearly all water is legally discharged into local municipal reticulation systems after proper treatment. We strive daily to implement best practices in the consumption of water as improved water efficiency reduces the impact of water supply disruptions and possible limitations placed on water withdrawals. To better understand our water use, including any potential risks, and contribute to the global knowledge and data on water use, we also participated in the CDP’s 2020 Water disclosure.

Recognition of Barloworld’s sustainability initiatives

Being a responsible corporate is at the core of our business. We ask ourselves certain key questions on an ongoing basis:

  • What impact are we making on peoples' lives?
  • Are we respecting them in terms of how we do business?
  • And how can we ensure a legacy that shows respect for people?

We are extremely proud of the recognition we have received for our sustainability efforts, which would not be possible without the support of our ‘One Barloworld’ employees. These include the following, some of which relate to the 2020 financial period:

  • Barloworld is a constituent of the Dow Jones Sustainability Emerging Markets Index (DJSI), as well as a constituent of the FTSE4Good Index Series.
  • We also received an MSCI ESG ‘A’ rating, which is designed to measure a company’s resilience to long-term, industry material environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks.
  • The Group has an Environmental QualityScore rating of 1, the highest by Institutional Shareholder Services.

World Water Day 2021 provides an opportunity to acknowledge our achievements in conserving water, but also a time to reflect on how we can do more about ‘valuing water’. We thank each of you for your contributions towards our water sustainability goals and your commitment to striving to do better.

We urge all our employees to consider the impact of their water use both and at work and at home. Every drop counts!!!

For more, please also see:

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