Friday, March 18, 2011

New Water Sustainability Solutions Tool Under Development

GEMI Begins Development of New Water Sustainability Solutions Tool, The GEMI Local Water Tool™ (LWT)

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) has announced that it is beginning to develop a new solution tool, the GEMI Local Water Tool™ (LWT), in cooperation with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).  This tool, when completed, will be a free, publically available tool which will help companies to understand their local water challenges.

GEMI's Chair Keith Miller, Manager, Environmental Initiatives and Sustainability, 3M, stated, "I am pleased to announce that GEMI, in cooperation with WBCSD, has started to develop a new environmental sustainability tool, the GEMI Local Water Tool™ (LWT) which, when used in conjunction with WBCSD's Global Water Tool© (GWT), will become a major solution tool for companies around the world to address water sustainability challenges and opportunities.  The focus of this cooperation is to ensure that the tools are fully compatible to enable users to achieve full value from use of both tools."  Miller continued, "In addition, the LWT and GWT are a resource of best practices for sustainable water management at the global, regional, national and local levels.  It is anticipated that this new solution tool will be made be available to the public by early 2012," said Miller.

The new GEMI LWT™ is being led by three co-chairs: Karl Fennessey, Director of Water and Biodiversity, ConocoPhillips; Bill Lechner, Vice President, Global Environment Health and Safety & Security, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company; and Maurice (Moe) Bechard, Vice President, Global Environment Health and Safety, Diversey, Inc.

"If companies today expect to compete and succeed in an increasingly water-constrained world, proactive water management must become a core competency," said Bjorn Stigson, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).  "It is a fundamental truism that you can't manage what you can't measure.  That is why we have partnered with GEMI to ensure that companies have access to a variety of tools that can be integrated into a comprehensive water management solution.  For example, our Global Water Tool© allows for a comprehensive water risk assessment across a company's global portfolio while GEMI's Local Water Tool™ will provide guidance on local, site-specific water risks and opportunities," Stigson concluded.

"GEMI is expanding the information and learnings of GEMI's two existing water sustainability solution tools, Connecting the Drops (2002) and Collecting the Drops (2007), with new risk assessment and reporting features to create a new tool," said Karl Fennessey. "This new tool is being designed to encourage businesses to conduct systematic local assessments of their relationship to water, identify specific opportunities and risks associated with this relationship and report key indicators to stakeholders," Fennessey stated.

Bechard stated, "The new GEMI LWT™ will be a free interactive, downloadable module, and include new functionality, which will help companies evaluate specific sites for water impacts and risks in order to devise site-specific sustainable water management strategies." "CH2M HILL, who helped in the creation of the WBCSD Global Water Tool©, is assisting GEMI in the development of the new GEMI Local Water Tool™," Bechard added.

"We are excited about the development of this tool because the purpose and functionality of the GEMI and WBCSD tools are mutually supportive," said Lechner. He added, "Companies can utilize the WBCSD GWT© to identify and prioritize risks in their portfolios.  Companies can then employ the GEMI LWT™ to further evaluate the high risk locations and plan actions to manage the risks."

"Unique to this GEMI project is that for the first time, non-member companies are able to participate in the development of a GEMI solution tool as a Project Participant," said Steve Hellem, Executive Director of GEMI.  "GEMI is pleased that the following companies have become GEMI LWT™ Project Participants:  AkzoNobel; BP; Chesapeake Energy; Chevron; ENI; ExxonMobil; Greif; Intel; ITT; Maersk Oil & Gas; Nexen Inc.; Shell; Statoil; Suncor Energy Inc.; Talisman Energy Inc.; and TOTAL," said Hellem.

"With the leadership of the three co-chairs, combined knowledge, insights and support of the GEMI member companies and LWT project participants, and the WBCSD as well as the technical and development support of CH2M Hill, the results of the completed GEMI LWT™ will be an extraordinarily valuable public tool for use by many companies and organizations in the future, as water continues to become a more valued resource," Miller concluded.

GEMI members include: 3M; Abbott; Biogen Idec; BNSF Railway Company; Cargill, Inc.; Carnival Corporation & plc; ConAgra Foods; ConocoPhillips; CSX Transportation; Diversey, Inc.; DuPont; FedEx; Johnson & Johnson; Johnson Controls, Inc.; Kraft Foods Inc.; Legrand; MedImmune; Merck & Company, Inc.; Occidental Petroleum Corporation; Perdue Incorporated.; The Procter & Gamble Company; The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company; Smithfield Foods, Inc.; Southern Company; and, Union Pacific Railroad.

For more information about GEMI please visit GEMI's website at

CONTACT: Amy Goldman, GEMI, 202-296-7449

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