GEMI Updates Water Tools
The Global Environmental Management Initiative has updated its GEMI Local Water Tool and the GEMI LWT for Oil and Gas.
The green business alliance, whose members include ConocoPhillips, FedEx, Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble and Southern Company, among others, launched the free tools in March 2012. The tools are intended to help companies evaluate external impacts, business risks, opportunities and management plans related to water use and discharge at a specific site or operation. The GEMI LWT for Oil and Gas is customized for petroleum companies.
The updates include a new data source list with additional watershed areas for both water tools. The new list may be found on the tool web page.
Based on feedback from member companies requesting more detailed local data, GEMI says it added several watershed areas to the list. These include: Western Australia; Sydney, Australia; Melbourne areas, Australia; Buenos Aires area, Argentina; Neuquen Oil Basin area, Argentina; Alberta area, Canada; St. Lawrence area, Canada; Eagle Ford area, Texas; Colorado River, Texas; Brazos River, Texas; Red River, Texas; and Trinity River, Texas.
Karl Fennessey, director of water and biodiversity at ConocoPhillips and co-chair of the GEMI Water Sustainability Work Group, says the list of areas will continue to grow.
The GEMI LWT and GEMI LWT for Oil and Gas have been downloaded by individuals and corporations from around the world more than 1,300 times over the 10 months since they were launched, the group says.
In addition to updating the list, GEMI announced that BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Intel and Statoil will continue their participation this year as GEMI LWT project participants.
GEMI executive director Steve Hellem says the organization is considering adding other sector-specific tools in addition to its LWT for Oil and Gas.
Both tools were developed in cooperation with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the oil and gas industry’s environmental association IPIECA. They link to, and are compatible with, the WBCSD Global Water Tool and the IPIECA GWT for Oil and Gas.
In late January, the World Resources Institute and companies including GE, Shell, Dow, United Technologies and DuPont launched an online tool that maps water risks worldwide. The Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, developed by WRI and founding members of the Aqueduct Alliance, can help companies, investors and governments see how water stress will affect operations locally and globally, and help prioritize investments that will increase water security, according to the organizations.
According to Bill Baue, a senior research fellow with AccountAbility, earlier versions of Aqueduct didn’t do as well as other online tools including those by GEMI and another by Ceres at implementing sustainability context — a principle of the Global Reporting Initiative, calling on companies to assess their proportional impacts within social and ecological limits.
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