Why companies and cities need a clear path forward for sustainable water use

Our focus

Water is essential for all human life. Rising consumption, climate change and pollution are increasing pressure on water supply. Companies and cities need a clear way of minimizing their own impact on water as well as identifying opportunities to invest in collective solutions. 

Addressing how they impact and depend on water will enable companies and cities to specify how to help create sustainable water systems. Incorporating water into their science-based targets for nature will enable them to future-proof growth without depleting or polluting water resources and help drive the transition to a water-secure world.

The Science Based Targets Network’s Freshwater Hub is a collaborative effort led by CDP and WWF, along with Pacific Institute, World Resources Institute, and The Nature Conservancy  – authors of some of the leading frameworks, tools, methods and guidance for water impact assessment, management, and reporting. The hub is also supported with technical expertise from Limnotech, Earth Genome, Future H2O, and Quantis.


NEW freshwater paper

In January 2024, Corporate water stewardship and science-based targets for freshwater, was published by the SBTN Freshwater Hub in collaboration with the Alliance for Water Stewardship.

This paper outlines what freshwater science-based targets are, why they’re important and how they connect to related corporate water stewardship initiatives.

Download PDF now


of the world’s 100 largest river basins are extremely or highly water stressed and many more are expected to cross that threshold by 2050


greatest risk to society over the next decade is the water supply crisis


hit to companies due to water challenges in 2018.

Freshwater science-based targets help companies and cities focus on how their activities affect water quality and quantity. Setting science-based targets help them understand which water basins are the highest priority. It also defines what an individual company’s role is in helping improve a particular water system. 

Since water resources are interconnected to all of nature, water targets should be set in coordination with other areas like land, climate and biodiversity.

In May 2023, the Science Based Targets Network issued detailed methodologies for companies to assess and prioritize their impacts on nature, and enable them to progress to setting initial target-setting resources on freshwater quality and quantity as well as land to complement those on climate from the Science Based Targets initiative.

Setting freshwater targets

Water hub partners