Sociological Survey «Role of Business in Water Resources Conservation»

Sociological Survey «Role of Business in Water Resources Conservation»

March 2021 – March 2022

Research centre Carbon Disclosure Project in their 2020 report came a to conclusion that 2/3 of the companies worldwide are imperiled to the water pollution or scarcity, dangerous for business processes. At the same time inaction costs 5 times more than water risks prevention.

Commercial sector might influence on the universal and equitable access to the secure and clean water. Business might substantially contribute to the reduction of negative anthropogenic impact on water ecosystems and achievement of the SDG №6: Ensure water and sanitation for all.

Russia makes the top three as a country with the biggest water reserves. Water resources endowment is an asset that is needed to be managed from the environmental and financial sides consciously. Relevant open data and statistics regarding corporate water footprint are absent. It showed the necessity to carry out a research on the water management in the commercial sector. Lake Baikal Foundation conducted this study in partnership with NAFI – analytical centre, specialized in social research.


  • dissemination of sustainable water practices among commercial organizations and assistance to the companies in the reduction of their water footprint through promotion of corporate water footprint concept, development of partnerships with business sector and relevant government agencies. 


  • ti examine understanding among Russian business society of the role of water in production, use and utilization processes of goods or services;  
  • to evaluate awareness the head of the companies on the water footprint, corporate water footprint concepts;
  • to determine existing practices of water management;
  • to acquire more knowledge on incentives and obstacles for implementation of water saving technologies.

What has been done:

  • NAFI collected data will be collected through online survey, whereas qualitative data will be received from in-depth interviews with representatives of business society. In general, the experience of more than 200 Russian companies from different regions of the country was studied.


  • Representatives of Russian SMEs, in general, are well-aware of trends in sustainable development. Almost have of the companies (47%) already include various aspects related to sustainable development in their annual reports. However, water management is rarely taken into account in companies’ strategies (only 5% among SMEs include responsible water management in the corporate strategy). 30% of respondents assume that compliance with international and national standards in the sphere of water management plays a huge role for their company. 
  • The entrepreneurs do not see any direct link between the implementation of sustainable development practices and benefits for the business. More than half of the SMEs (52%) shared the view, that only practical benefit (reducing running costs, certification, etc) from the calculation of the water footprint can become a stimulus to introduce it in the corporate practice.
  • According to the research, material costs accounting related to water is held in half of the SMEs (50%), first of all, utility bills are kept track. The estimation of the amount of water used takes place in 39% of companies – the most common case is the calculation of the water amount necessary for technical water supply and drinking water.
  • The measure, which companies see as their key contribution to reducing their water footprint, is to withdraw less freshwater from the water resources. This conclusion comes from expert interviews with the representatives of the companies. 
  • Awareness about sustainable water resource management is still superficial and often does not suppose specific actions from the companies. Nevertheless, according to sustainable development reports, transparency and the levels of detail of data on water management disclosure of the big companies is rising, especially, among resource extracting companies. However, these data are presented as a range of separate activities and technological solutions. It is often not obvious, how implemented initiatives are embedded into the corporate long-term strategy of the key players on the market.    

Under the guidance of Lake Baikal Foundation companies will be able to work on strategy based on sustainable and effective water management, better predict and analyze its own risks, build trust with local communities in the presence regions and develop corporate values with focus on careful attitude to the water.   

Detailed results of the project in figures and graphs can be found in the presentation.

Partnership for Sustainable Development