Water Industry News

What Is The Courtauld 2030 Water Roadmap?

One critical aspect of the climate crisis is water stress and scarcity, a global concern that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency if freshwater resources are to be protected for future generations.


From a business perspective, there’s a lot that can be done to reduce your overall water footprint right across your entire supply chain and the added benefit of doing so is that you not only help support the environment but that you also build resilience into your business, ensuring that you can continue operating no matter what happens.


To that end, it may be worth finding out more about the Courtauld 2030 Water Roadmap, which sets out a vision and key paths to take in order to address the challenges that lie ahead in protecting vital water resources for food supply, nature and local communities.


Coordinated by climate action non-governmental organisation WRAP,  the Water Roadmap features collective action projects delivered by water stewardship experts, food and drink organisations in the UK and on-the-ground delivery agencies.


UK-based projects include using targeted farm support in East Anglia to help ease pressure on the rivers Cam, Ely and Ouse, delivering practical on-farm measures to improve water retention, protect soil, reduce runoff, enhance biodiversity and improve resilience of the local water environment.


The Courtauld Commitment 2030 sets out a water target to ensure that 50 per cent of fresh food in the UK is sourced from areas that support sustainable water management, with the roadmap aiming to deliver important contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goal #6 (availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all).


By pledging their support to the Water Roadmap, businesses sign themselves up to set their own water-related targets to have an impact on their direct operations, while reducing water risk across the supply chain. They also pledge to carry out supply chain water risk mapping using the WWF Water Risk Filter and take part in collective action projects, either in the UK or overseas.


The move towards water stewardship


One of the key aims of the roadmap is to serve as a call to action for businesses across the food and drink supply chain to move away from simply complying with water management standards and instead prioritise more effective water stewardship.


The strategy demands that water users demonstrate strong leadership where water is concerned and rather than assume ownership of resources, work to enhance water security for all.


It sets out how important cross-sector collaboration is in this regard, providing businesses with a practical framework to enhance water security for the economy, nature and local communities for generations to come.


David Edwards, director of food strategy at WWF-UK, explained that the two best ways to improve water management are to ensure that supply chains adopt best practices at the farm level and to support efforts to ensure good water governance at catchment and basin scale.


This means that fair allocation of water is ensured between commercial production, communities and nature. By solely focusing on farm-level changes without including good water governance, water risks will not be reduced and sustainable water management will not be achieved. As such, addressing these together is vital, the core principles of the roadmap itself.


Mr Edwards went on to say: “This Roadmap Towards Water Security for Food & Drink Supply is a world-leading example of a whole-sector commitment to address water challenges in shared sourcing landscapes.


“It recognises that it is only through working together towards common goals, and addressing the management of water at a catchment scale, can we genuinely achieve sustainability for water in our fruit and vegetable imports.”


Case study: Noble Foods


Fresh produce supplier Noble Foods has just signed up to the Water Roadmap, pledging to help protect water resources now and well into the future, New Food Magazine reports.


Glenn Evans, the business’s group environmental, health and safety manager, explained that joining the Water Roadmap is important to help the business protect the environment and lead the way in its sector, as the biggest egg supplier in the UK.


He went on to say that water risks can be reduced through the use of nature-based solutions, such as reduced soil loss, improved biodiversity and increased carbon storage.j


“Our commitment to the Water Roadmap will be beneficial for our wider sustainability strategy and net zero aspirations, but also allows us to share best-practice with other signatories. We are committed to protecting and sustaining the environments our businesses operate in.”


The brand has already been working on nature-based solutions to help benefit Upper Moorend Farm, which can be found in the heart of the Herefordshire countryside, making changes to how it interacts with the local environment.


Alongside the Wye & Usk Foundation, the company has been working to help slow the flow of water onsite, improving water quality and reducing flood risks, benefiting farmers, the environment, local wildlife and local biodiversity.


In all, a series of 11 wetland pools have now been linked together on the farm, trapping traces of excessive nutrients and driving down nutrient load before the water reaches the nearby brook. New vegetation will also help to slow the flow of water through the system to provide even more capacity to store excess water during intense periods of rainfall and then releasing it slowly once peak flow has passed.


And 12 different species of vegetation and grasses have been planted in these wetland pools, which will colonise with other plants and develop a new and vibrant habitat, providing food sources for birds and nectar for insects and other pollinators, as well as aquatic habitats and water sources for amphibians and other wildlife.


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