On 5-6 March 2008, the United Nations Global Compact, in partnership with the Pacific Institute, convened the inaugural working conference of The CEO Water Mandate. The conference, held at UN Headquarters in New York, brought together senior representatives from numerous corporations, as well as policy leaders from civil society organisations, UN agencies as well as specialised water institutes.
Companies represented included Nestle (Switzerland), The Coca-Cola Company (US), Hayleys (Sri Lanka), SABMiller (South Africa) and Suez (France). Non-business participants included WWF, Plan Malawi, Nature Conservancy as well as UNICEF, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, and UN OHCHR. Other organizations attending included the World Economic Forum and Business for Social Responsibility.
Participants engaged in the sharing of best and emerging pratices related to direct operations, supply chain management, watershed protection, transparency, public policy, community engagement, and collective action. These areas constitute the major elements of The CEO Water Mandate, launched by the UN Secretary-General in July 2007 to engage companies on the emerging crisis in fresh water availability and sanitation.
In a study released at the conference, the Pacific Institute noted: “In light of the immense scale of the global water challenge and significant percentage of private sector firms that remain unaware of the breadth and depth of the problem, this CEO-driven initiative makes a needed, complementary, and unique contribution”.