Walk for water

Rosie Baker is Marketing Week’s specialist on sustainability and retail.

There is an incredible stat that more than 10% of the world’s population, doesn’t have access to clean fresh drinking water. Almost 40% of those people live in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s almost unfathomable. It’s something that we take for granted in the UK and even in drought, we essentially have access to as much clean fresh running water as we like without giving it a second thought.

Yesterday was World Water Day and a number of brands in the food and drink industries launched initiatives to help support and conserve water around the world as part of the Food and Drink Federation’s ‘Every Last Drop initiative that aims to reduce water waste in the supply chain.

Coca Cola signed a three-year partnership with the WWF to protect British rivers.

Nestlé launched an employee programme to raise awareness of ways to reduce water use and conserve water.

Separately, P&G stepped up its clean drinking water campaign with an additional pledge to provide 100 million litres of clean water to communities in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Nickelodeon is also creating a cartoon character designed to educate children about more responsible water use.

These are all great initiatives, with different approaches to the issue, but the best example I saw was from ethical brand One. One develops FMCG products that directly fund development programmes around the world.

To mark World Water Day, its employees in London, carried the company’s entire day’s supply of water into work on foot.

One walk for water

The team trooped across Waterloo bridge carrying pails of water to demonstrate the plight that faces more than 780 million people around the world whose only choice is to walk miles every day to carry water home.

Thames Water is currently running an ad campaign encouraging people to reduce their water use because the UK is officially in drought following two years of low rainfall, but how many people will actually take any notice?

The average person in Britain uses around 161 litres of water In the UK. We take our access to fresh clean water for granted because we turn on a tap and it’s there.

Sometimes you have to walk in someone else’s shoes to really understand something and if each of us had to walk a mile a day and carry back a gallon of water to use, I imagine we’d all use water more sparingly.

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