The importance of creating a water-efficient community in your workplace

To build a water efficient society, we need to change the way we use and manage water. This is especially the case for businesses, as around 88% of the global water supply is used for commercial purposes. Companies looking to implement a sustainable water strategy should not underestimate the strength of getting their communications right, to ensure that their message reaches the necessary people in the right way. Engaging and informing stakeholders about the strategy and efforts on water management can strengthen the measures and enforce the saving potential.

Here are a few basic tips for creating an effective strategy.

Have a clear and easy-to-follow policy

When a strong vision and action plan on sustainable water management is set up by your organisation, the first thing to remember is to have a nice and easy set of guidelines that are simple to remember and follow. This is important to get everyone on the same page. Unless everyone is aware of what's going on, they won't all be in line and then your efforts to save water and money could be in vain!

Avoid ambiguous communication and try to keep things as short as possible. If you have targets to reach as part of your water efficiency strategy, make sure staff and team members are aware of these. You can turn a few of the key messages into bullet points to make them more easily digestible. These could include instructions such as:

  • instructions on washing, e.g. not washing things under an open tap
  • limits on shower times, e.g. 3-4 minutes
  • encouraging staff to check regularly for leaks in taps and pipes
  • making sure that water-intensive machinery (dishwashers, washing machines, etc.) are only used when fully loaded
  • Share thoughts on water-saving measures.

A good way of getting the message across is to produce catchy posters or tools that can be displayed around the workplace, reminding staff to be responsible. At the start of implementing your strategic actions, a seminar to inform stakeholders on the importance of sustainable water management could spark everyone’s attention and willingness to cooperate, as they see the management’s commitment.

Communicate your strategy more widely

Disseminating a good water-efficiency strategy has a double benefit. It will help advertise your business as a champion of sustainability and it will also encourage other similar businesses to adopt best practices.

You can reach out to various stakeholders including investors, partners, customers, and users of your building as well as the general public using a number of different methods, including:

  • annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports
  • information on your website and social media
  • visual media, such as short videos showcasing your initiatives and the impact they are having

You can tailor your message to fit your audience. For example, you may want to emphasise economic benefits to investors whereas customers might be more interested in the social or human angle.

Another great way of getting the message across to the wider audience is to incorporate it into your branding. If you can market yourself as a business or employer that has sustainability at the forefront of its operations, this is likely to get positive results regarding corporate and employer branding.

Make it fun and engaging

One of the biggest challenges for businesses is taking technical data such as water measurement statistics and link them to engaging communication. If facts and figures are presented in a way that is too dry or unrelatable, there's a danger that people will switch off.

A great way around this is to use methods such as workshops that involve the workforce, or even other stakeholders if appropriate. For example, get staff to buy into your water-saving strategy by involving them in the plan. Consider the different ways in which employees can submit ideas and play a role in delivering your strategy. Could staff run awareness campaigns or be responsible for recording and evaluating data?

Use fun and engaging tools to remind everyone of the strategy, for which a new tool could be handed out periodically along with a message reminding people on the strategy again and portraying the results obtained in the past period. Tools could be stickers on the toilets to remind people to use the small or big flush volume depending on their sanitary message, or refillable water bottles with a playful message, or recipe books with dishes that have the same nutritional value but a different water footprint to show how dietary choice can also affect water use, or badges, fact sheets,...

If you can find good ways of incentivizing the behaviour changes, you'll greatly increase your chances of success.

Water Experts can help businesses communicate their key messages and find appropriate methods of empowering stakeholders to become more sustainable. We run campaigns that will boost your CSR and help you become a water-efficient leader in your field.

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