Water is a human right

Water companies can play a role in implementing the right to access to water for local communities near their production facilities.

The General Assembly of the United Nations officially recognized a human right to water in 2010. According to the World Health Organization, the average person needs between 50-100 liters per day of clean, safe water for hydration and hygiene. But access to safe water and sanitation remains a very real issue for people around the world, with 700 million people currently lacking access to safe water, and over 2 billion people lacking access to proper sanitation. 

Wherever bottled water companies operate, they have an opportunity to help ensure access to safe water and sanitation for their employees and for local populations. Water companies that are WBCSD members include Danone, Nestlé, and PepsiCo.

Other partnerships that bottled water companies participate in include with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Bottled water can be a critical alternative source of safe drinking water in emergency situations, including after disasters that have damaged water supply infrastructure. Bottled water companies often donate water in these types of situations—one more way that they can step up and help ensure access to a basic human right.