CEO Water Mandate

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The CEO Water Mandate was launched in July 2007 as part of the United Nations' voluntary corporate social responsibility program, the UN Global Compact. [1] According to the UN website, the Mandate is "a unique public-private initiative designed to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water sustainability policies and practices."[2]

On January 26, 2010, the the CEO Water Mandate was awarded the Public Eye Greenwash Award for exhibiting "irresponsible and damaging behavior." [3] [4] In granting the award, Public Eye described the Mandate as a "club" of corporations that profit financially from water as a primary resource, such as Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical. Members of this "club" "profess to be combatting the water crisis alongside U.N. organizations and NGOs. Instead, according to Richard Girard from Canada’s Polaris Institute, “they continue to systematically pursue their policies of water privatization under the U.N. emblem,” without consideration for existing mandatory environmental and social standards." [5]

In response to the Greenwash Award nomination, the secretariat of the CEO Water Mandate issued a note defending the organization.[6] "There are many organizations, including prominent NGOs, who recognize the business community as a significant user of water resources and believe in working with business organizations to improve their water footprints and impacts in ways that benefit society, including by contributing to the Millennium Development Goals. This fundamental belief in the key role businesses can and should play in advancing sustainable water management is the basis of the CEO Water Mandate." [6]

The Mandate has been heavily criticized by civil society organizations and social movements, such as the Polaris Institute, Corporate Accountability International and the Sierra Club. According to these groups, the initiative "facilitates corporate control of water resources" and "allows corporations to undermine democratic control of water under the aegis of the United Nations".[7]

The CEO Water Mandate has collaborated with the California-based environmental think tank, the Pacific Institute, on multiple reports. [8] [9]


The CEO Water Mandate has been subjected to criticism from many civil society organizations.[10] Groups like the Polaris Institute and Corporate Accountability International have challenged the initiative because they believe it allows corporations to undermine democratic control of water under the aegis of the United Nations. In March 2009, a group of 118 organizations from 33 countries signed and issued a letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that called on him to withdraw his support for the CEO Water Mandate.[11]


Corporate executives who endorse the CEO Water Mandate "acknowledge that in order to operate in a more sustainable manner, and contribute to the vision of the UN Global Compact and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals, they have a responsibility to make water-resources management a priority, and to work with governments, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to address this global water challenge." [1]

Corporate executives may join the CEO Water Mandate if their company currently belongs to the UN Global Compact, or plans to join it, "within six months of endorsing the CEO Water Mandate. Endorsing companies are required to report annually on their implementation progress." [1] "Failure to prepare a publicly available COP-Water ['Communication on Progress'] report will result in the change of status (to 'non-communicating') and eventually in the delisting of an endorser from the Mandate," warns the Mandate's constitution.

Signatories to the CEO Water Mandate, as of May 2009, are: [12]

  • Agbar (Spain), Angel Simon Grimaldos, Director and Chief Executive Officer
  • Arup Group (UK), Gregory Hodkinson, Chairman
  • Athens Water and Sewerage Company - EYDAP S.A. (Greece), Anthony M. Vartholomeos, Managing Director
  • Avon Metals Ltd (UK), Steven Munnoch, Managing Director
  • Banesto Bank (Spain), Ana Patricia Botín, Executive Chairman
  • Bayer AG (Germany), Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Management
  • Cadbury (UK), Todd Stitzer, Chief Executive Officer
  • Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc. (USA), Barbara Krumsiek, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (USA), John F. Brock, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (Greece), Doros Constantinou, Chief Executive Officer
  • Compagnie de Saint-Gobain (France), Pierre Andre de Chalendar, Chief Executive Officer
  • Deloitte South Africa (South Africa), Ntombifuthi Mtoba, Chair
  • Diageo plc (UK), Paul Walsh, Chief Executive Officer
  • Dow Chemical Company (USA), Andrew N. Liveris, Chief Executive Officer
  • Finlay International (Bangladesh), A.Q.I. Chowdhury, Chief Executive Officer
  • Firmenich SA (Switzerland), Patrick Firmenich, Chief Executive Officer
  • GlaxoSmithKline plc (UK), Andrew Philip Witty, Chief Executive Officer
  • Groupe DANONE (France), Franck Riboud, Chief Executive Officer
  • Grupo Via Delphi (Mexico), Francisco Cordova Lira, Chief Executive Officer
  • H&M Hennes & Mauritz (Sweden), Rolf Eriksen, Chief Executive Officer
  • Hayleys Limited (Sri Lanka), N.G. Wickremeratne, Chairman
  • Heineken NV (Netherlands), Jean-François van Boxmeer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Hindustan Construction Co. (India), Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman
  • Hong Kong Beijing Air Catering (China), Annie Wu, Managing Director
  • Läckeby Water Group (Sweden), Martin Hagbyhn, Chief Executive Officer
  • Levi Strauss & Co. (USA), John Anderson, Chief Executive Officer
  • Liqum Inc. (Finland), Sakari Laitinen, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Metito Ltd (United Arab Emirates), Mutaz Ghandour, Chief Executive Officer
  • Molson Coors Brewing Company (USA), Peter Swinburn, Chief Executive Officer
  • Nestlé S.A. (Switzerland), Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chief Executive Officer
  • Netafim (Israel), Ofer Bloch, Chief Executive Officer
  • PepsiCo, Inc. (USA), Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (USA), Samuel A. DiPiazza Jr., Chief Executive Officer
  • Pure-O-Tech, Inc. (USA), Michael McGowan, Chairman
  • Ranhill Berhad (Malaysia), Hamdan Mohamad, President and Chief Executive
  • Reed Elsevier (UK), Sir Crispin Davis, Chief Executive Officer
  • Royal Dutch Shell plc (Netherlands), Jeroen van der Veer, Chief Executive
  • SABMiller (South Africa), Graham Mackay, Chief Executive Officer
  • Sasol Ltd. (South Africa), Pat Davies, Chief Executive
  • SEKEM Holding (Egypt), Helmy Abouleish, Chief Executive Officer
  • Siemens AG (Germany), Peter Loescher, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • SUEZ (France), Gérard Mestrallet, Chief Executive Officer
  • SunOpta Inc. (Canada), Steve Bromley, Chief Executive Officer
  • Sustainable Living Fabrics (Australia), Bill Jones, Chief Executive Officer
  • Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (Egypt), Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chief Executive Officer
  • The Coca-Cola Company (USA), E. Neville Isdell, Chief Executive Officer
  • Unified Technologies Group Inc. (U.S.), Benjamin K. Piilani, Chairman and Chief Executive
  • Unilever (UK), Patrick Cescau, Group Chief Executive
  • Westpac Banking Corporation (Australia), Gail Kelly, Chief Executive Officer
  • Wilmar International Limited (Singapore), Kuok Khoon Hong, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • WPP Group (UK), Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer


The CEO Water Mandate is staffed through the larger UN Global Compact: [8]

  • Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact
  • Gavin Power, Deputy Director of the UN Global Compact

Contact information

Gavin Power
Email: powerg AT

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "The CEO Water Mandate," United Nations Global Compact website, accessed May 2009.
  2. CEO Water Mandate Website
  3. CEO Water Mandate wins the Public Eye Greenwash Award, Global Impact Critics, accessed February 2010.
  4. Public Eye Announces 2010 Winners, Public Eye Awards, accessed February 2010
  5. PDF of the Speech by Richard Girard of the Polaris Institute, awarding the CEO Water Mandate the Public Eye Greenwash Award, January 26 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 "CEO Water Mandate Secretariat Note on “Public Eye Awards”" January 22, 2010
  7. Polaris Institute's CEO Water Mandate "fact sheet"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Press release, "White Paper Issued: Managing Climate Change and Water," UN Global Compact, May 15, 2009.
  9. Press release, "Global Release: 'Water Disclosure 2.0'," UN Global Compact, March 11, 2009.
  10. CSR Info, "CEO Water Mandate critique during 5th WWF", 30 March 2009.
  11. Bobby Ramakant, "Corporate Water Forum Spurs Mass Protest", in American Chronicle, 15 March 2009.
  12. "Endorsing CEOs," United Nations Global Compact website, accessed May 2009.

External resources

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