Friend of the month – July

Have your say in July… Ximena Barrera Rey from Colombia!

WWF Colombia’s Water Stewardship strategy aims to engage companies to look beyond their organizational boundaries, to consider their relationship with water and rethink their sustainability strategy to generate benefits for communities, ecosystems and the business itself

By: Juliana Díaz, MBA.

This month we keep talking about environment and water conservation, now with one of our partners. Ximena Barrera Rey is Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility Director of WWF Colombia and also member of the Advisory Council of Florverde Sustainable Flowers

Florverde and WWF Colombia share a lot about sustainable management and water conservation in agriculture. 

Florverde® Sustainable Flowers: 
Taking into account WWF is part of our Advisory Council, how can Florverde® Sustainable Flowers and WWF work together regarding water conservation? 

Ximena Barrera: Water conservation is a key issue for WWF. As a global conservation organization, WWF advocates that all freshwater ecosystems – rivers, lakes, wetlands and associated aquifers – should be sustainably managed and wisely used to meet the needs of both biodiversity conservation and human development. Therefore, WWF has developed different methodologies and tools that can help economic sectors improve their management practices and promote water efficiency and reduce risks. As a member of Florverde Sustainable Flowers Advisory council, WWF is willing to share tools and information to support water conservation in the flower sector. 

Florverde® Sustainable Flowers: What is the WWF global water conservation strategy?

Ximena: Through the Global Freshwater Programme, WWF works to secure water for people and nature, through six key areas:

· Water Stewardship

· Water security

· Freshwater habitat protection such as rivers and wetlands

· Freshwater ecosystem services

· Climate change adaptation

· Water governance and water security

These strategies seek to protect freshwater ecosystems and species, improve water access, efficiency, but also water governance in WWF’s priority basins, while reducing the impact of humanity’s water footprint. All this work is carried out in collaboration with diverse partners, including other NGOs, governments, development agencies, businesses, and international conventions such as Ramsar.
Florverde® Sustainable Flowers: What is the relation between the global water conservation strategy and what WWF Colombia is doing? 

Ximena: WWF Colombia’s freshwater strategy aims to ensure resilience to climate change and water security for people, nature and economic development. The strategy focuses geographically on two major river basins (Amazon and Orinoco), and selected priority watersheds in the Andean region, home to 65% of the Colombian population, and source of energy production and economically productive activities. The strategy has three main pillars.

· Protection of critical ecosystems for freshwater biodiversity and provision of water resources and ecosystem services.

· Water Security and

· Governance and Water Stewardship. 

Florverde® Sustainable Flowers: What is the water stewardship program that WWF leads?

Ximena: Water Stewardship is a concept defined by WWF to help businesses contribute to the sustainable management of water resources in a basin. It is a series of steps that companies develop. It involves learning, acting, doing and improving, going beyond the fence of a company, reducing water-related impacts and risks of internal and value chain operations. Hence, it is a commitment to sustainable management of shared water resources through collective action with other businesses, governments, NGOs and communities.

The Water Stewardship Strategy is focused on the private sector. WWF is working to redefine the companies’ role in the territories where they have established their productive activities or where they have an impact, helping them advocate, support and promote better basin governance, for the benefit of people, nature and themselves.

Florverde® Sustainable Flowers: Who are your partners for this program and which focus does it have?

Ximena: WWF Colombia is developing Water Stewardship strategies with key business leaders, including ISAGEN, (the second largest energy supplier in Colombia), Bancolombia, (one of the largest financial institutions in the country) and Tecbaco (the largest seller of bananas to DOLE). We have also adapted to Colombia some of WWF’s global tools, such as the Water Risk Filter, which we have applied in the Coello-Combeima River Basin to build a target list of key impact industries to engage in local water stewardship efforts. 

Good Water Stewardship goes beyond a business being an efficient water user; businesses need to contribute to responsible management of freshwater resources, and maintain ecosystems that provide long term water supply. Effective water stewardship requires engagement and collective action among government agencies, financial institutions, communities and the private sector. WWF Colombia’s Water Stewardship strategy aims to engage companies to look beyond their organizational boundaries, to consider their relationship with water and rethink their sustainability strategy to generate benefits for communities, ecosystems and the business itself.

Florverde® Sustainable Flowers: How does WWF work with productive industries and farming activities in Colombia?

Ximena: WWF has been working closely with productive sectors in Colombia at a national, regional and local level in collaborative strategies that aim to generate relevant and reliable information to support decision making processes, especially related to projects that pose a significant potential impact on natural ecosystems.

A key element of the work with productive sectors is the engagement and participation of important stakeholders such as policy makers, research institutions, territorial and productive planning agencies, among others, in order to promote disclosure of initiatives and information exchange, technical support and ongoing discussions to facilitate inclusive and agreed results.

Does your company works together for a better world for us all? we’d love to read your experiences!