We must sell new behaviour to fight water scarcity

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Sir: Hamish Renton makes interesting points about ethics in the bottled water industry (‘The only way is ethics but whose?’, 10 November), yet only breaks the surface of an ocean of issues surrounding water footprints and attitudes towards water scarcity.

A recent WRAP survey found only 12% of people worry about the amount of water wasted in food production, while just 10% are concerned about global water scarcity. Conversely, around a third are concerned about packaging and food waste - no doubt because this is more immediate and visible.

The use of water in food and drink production is a critical business issue, vital to profitability and sustainability.

A recent Defra study looking at climate change adaptation in food and beverage businesses found that most are developing strategies to manage the risks posed by anticipated water availability restrictions.

But action needs to extend into people’s homes and lives. Organisations need to motivate people to act differently.

With an expanding global population and and the eer-growing threat of climate change, we need to market new behaviours - not products.

Belinda Miller, director of insight, Corporate Culture, Liverpool

Readers' comments (1)

  • Water shortage and food availability are really the challenges to overcome. However due to unprecedented growth in demand, both of them (water and food) are in the path of becoming luxuries rather than basic need elements.

    Producing food does use water, however the waste in households also accounts for a main "drainage" of this resource.

    Like elsewhere society is driven by profit. I am involved with F&B and project manage luxury wines and waters for selected sales channels and markets. I cannot believe the price of certain waters I have at hand. They are sold as jewels. And what for? A good meal?

    The biggest issue is the world population growth. The planet resources are fine and renewable for a population of no more than 2 billion - this number is way pass by today.

    Behaviour is no longer what we need to sell. At this moment it is emergency. We already are harvesting water from icebergs, from the sea, from deep sea fresh reserves, etc.

    Unfortunately I believe we may not have a choice. The excess has reached everywhere. When I was a child a cow would produce daily so much milk, today it triples and in that milk are substances that are simply not at all health recommended. And more examples are to mention if the time and text would allow.

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