The Human Right to Water and the Responsibilities of Businesses: An Analysis of Legal Issues; SOAS International Human Rights Clinic Projects
31 Pages Posted: 25 May 2011
Date Written: 2011
90% of the world’s fresh water resources are consumed within the industrial and agricultural sectors. Indicating water’s place at the top of the corporate agenda, a recent survey by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) of more than 300 of the 500 largest companies in the world, found that 67% of respondents placed responsibility for water-related issues at the Board or Executive Committee level, 89% have developed specific water policies, and 60% have set water-related performance targets. Significantly, respondents across all sectors identified regulation as one of the key risks in corporate water practices. Part 1 of this paper provides an overview of the international recognition of the human right to water and its current legal scope – the legal framework guiding States’ obligations in fully realising the right to water for all, including State liability for businesses’ operations. Part 2 examines the mechanisms at both national and international level that are increasingly being used to hold water users and providers to account. Lastly, in Part 3, we attempt to answer why the human right to water is important to businesses by considering the implications of trends around the issue of business and human rights and how these trends can be used as an opportunity to operationalise the right to water within business practices.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation