Man pointing to a water quality sheet at Water Roadmap project in Kenya

Courtauld 2030 Water Roadmap

Protecting critical water resources for food supply, for nature, and for local communities

The Courtauld 2030 Water Roadmap ('A Roadmap towards Water Security for Food & Drink Supply') sets out a vision and key pathways to address the challenges we collectively face in protecting critical water resources for food supply, for nature and for local communities.

It is a joint vision for the outcome we are seeking across the UK food & drink industry as a whole, to deliver the Courtauld Commitment 2030 water target that 50% of the UK’s fresh food is sourced from areas with sustainable water management.

The Courtauld 2030 Water Roadmap also aims to deliver an important contribution towards UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 (availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all), as well as protecting and restoring biodiversity, and contributing to Net Zero goals through the implementation of nature-based solutions.

The issue

We cannot produce food without water, but future predictions of water supplies are stark.

Agricultural supply chains use 70% of global freshwater resources, but the UN predicts global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% by 2030. A strategic and catchment-based approach to water is essential, alongside faster progress on improving and protecting river and wetland ecosystems. We have water challenges at home and overseas caused by the production of fresh food for UK consumers.

Growing fruit and vegetables, as well as the production of dairy, eggs, meat and drinks, can all contribute towards pollution and water scarcity in an increasingly water stressed world. Many of the countries we’re sourcing fruit and vegetables from are already severely water stressed, so we may need to give more consideration to how our expectation to have abundant availability of fresh fruit and vegetables all-year-round from places like Spain and South Africa puts an unsustainable burden on water resources around the world.

Whether it’s for use in home cooking or by restaurants and food services, fresh food production is thirsty work; agriculture as a whole accounts for 70% of all water use globally and is a significant driver of the steep decline in freshwater biodiversity.

Who's signed up?

87 organisations, including 72 businesses and 15 supporters.

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Action so far

Working with WWF

WRAP is working directly with WWF to support and encourage the entire food and drink sector to take action. In May 2023, working with WRAP and WWF, signatories to WWF’s Retailers’ Commitment for Nature – Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – agreed to a series of leadership actions and associated funding contributions intended to drive progress towards the milestones set out in the Courtauld Water Roadmap, and to catalyse other organisations across the food and drink sector to also act, fund and support delivery of the Roadmap.

Collective Action projects

Our Collective Action projects in the UK and abroad have so far:  

  • Engaged with over 100 local stakeholders and over 800 farmers
  • Visited 300 farms
  • Helped replenish over 385 million litres of water to communities & nature
  • 31 businesses (+ 1 other organisation) have contributed to water roadmap collective action projects 
  • 14 more businesses have carried out supply chain mapping to identify locations for potential collective action.

Join the #WaterRoadmap & take action on water as a business-critical issue. 

How to take action

By joining the Water Roadmap, businesses are signing up to:

  • Follow WWF’s Water Stewardship Ladder;
  • Set water-related targets for their own direct business operations and to help reduce water risk in their supply chain;
  • Carry out supply chain water risk mapping using the WWF Water Risk Filter;
  • Participate in collective action projects where appropriate, in the UK and/or overseas (this will normally involve a minimum annual contribution to project costs); and  
  • Report annually on progress against these activities.

Join the Water Roadmap

To help deliver the ambition of the Water Roadmap, all UK food & drink organisations are urged to join. It's as easy as sending email confirmation, and it's free to join the Water Roadmap.

Help deliver the Water Roadmap by signing up

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