Gaining Senior Management Buy In
Improving the water efficiency of your business will save you money, reduce your impact on the environment, enhance the reputation of your business and increase your competitive advantage by reducing operational costs.
Developing a water efficiency plan will help to manage the risks associated with water scarcity and drought as well as help you demonstrate compliance with environmental principles and standards. For example, cutting water use also reduces your carbon footprint and can help to achieve carbon reduction targets.
Before embarking on a water reduction programme (or even a waste prevention or energy use reduction programme!), gaining management commitment is important. It is important to remember that all employees have a contribution to make, and can help with collecting data, or by offering ideas and insight.
Top level-commitment is required because:
- senior managers will need to approve any changes, especially to processes or practices
- staff and resources will have to be allocated to investigate and implement savings; and
- information on e.g. bills and water use may not be available without engaging other departments and staff
It can be easier to gain approval and commitment if you already have an idea of the potential savings, and can highlight that current use is excessive. Suggesting zero cost and low cost water saving measures, together with anticipated cost savings could also strengthen your chances of success.
When asking for senior commitment to conduct a water reduction programme, you should also have an idea of the likely staffing levels and resources required to implement it. Once you have agreed the scope of the water balance with senior managers, it will be possible to estimate the level of resources required to develop it, and to gain approval for these resources from the management team. Allocation of resources will depend on the size of the process or area that is being investigated.
It could be that one person is responsible for undertaking the work on a part-time basis or a mixed team of engineering, production and environmental staff could develop the water balance. Some companies have successfully employed students on work placements to gather data.
Appoint a project team; members of the team should include representatives from all departments responsible for the use and supply of water. It is essential to appoint a team leader or ‘champion’ to act as a focal point for the programme that can advocate water and wastewater efficiency on a day to day basis.
The first step in assessing the potential savings is to develop a water balance to show where water is being consumed, and to map how water enters and leaves the site. The water balance will help to identify cost effective opportunities to save water. For further information on developing a water reduction programme, see the WRAP good practice guides Saving Money Through Resource Efficiency: Reducing Water Use, Tracking Water Use to Cut Costs, and the How to guide – Develop a water efficient plan.