Application of AWS and SEEA to Accounting for water: China Industrial Park Demonstration
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Published: 22 June 2021

Communicating the impacts of AWS certification to public sector agencies, green investors and philanthropists in a credible and easily understood form has the potential to generate benefits to implementers that will enhance the business case for water stewardship.

The starting point is to understand that implementing the AWS Standard will generate both public benefits, in terms of improved catchment health, and private benefits, such as improved operational efficiency, reduced risk, enhanced reputation and social license. While sites implementing water stewardship are capable of undertaking a cost benefit analysis of tangible private benefits such as an operational improvement, a better understanding of public benefits will encourage collaboration with public sector agencies and strengthen reputation and social license. By public benefits, we include the impacts on broader catchment challenges such as water scarcity, pollution, ecosystem health, protection of cultural sites and social equity. The System of Environment-Economic Accounts (SEEA) provides a common international framework within which these impacts can be measured and communicated.

This is the second report AWS Asia-Pacific has commissioned from IDEEA Group to continue to develop both how AWS can link to SEEA and the opportunities available. In 2017 we commissioned this exploratory report on linkages between SEEA and AWS. In this report, we build on the original report and look at the application of SEEA in two industrial parks in China where AWS Asia-Pacific is currently working. The results show great potential but also underline the importance of working with local experts who have access to data and local knowledge. It is our hope that we will be able to continue to develop this work over the coming years working with IDEEA Group and local public-sector agencies and universities in China and Australia. In that way, we hope to build a common language that is easily understood by all stakeholders, which can provide a basis for collaboration and maximise the benefits of AWS water stewardship.

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