SDG 6, “Clean water and sanitation” aims to achieve a more sustainable and equitable world by addressing various social, economic, and environmental challenges. SDG 6 focuses on ensuring clean water and sanitation for all, recognizing the fundamental importance of these basic human needs for health, well-being, and sustainable development.
Access to clean water and sanitation is a fundamental human right, yet millions of people around the world still lack access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation facilities, and hygiene services. Water scarcity, pollution, inadequate infrastructure, and poor management of water resources are some of the key challenges that hinder progress towards achieving SDG 6 targets. However, businesses can play a crucial role in promoting sustainable water and sanitation practices and contributing to the achievement of SDG 6.
In this article, we share some sustainable business strategies for SDG 6 and how an agriculture company from Sabah, Malaysia, implemented their sustainability strategies successfully to address water and sanitation challenges in the region.
Sustainable Strategies to Achieve SDG 6
There are many solutions and strategies that need business support and initiatives to achieve SDG 6. We summarise the sustainable strategies for achieving SDG 6:
- Conserve water and use water efficiently: Businesses can implement water-saving technologies and practices to reduce their water consumption and minimise their impact on water resources. This can include investing in water-efficient equipment, optimising water use in production processes, and promoting water conservation measures among employees and customers. By adopting water-saving practices, businesses can contribute to conserving water resources and ensure the availability of clean water for communities.
- Prevent water pollution: Businesses can implement measures to prevent water pollution and ensure that their operations do not contaminate local water sources. This can include implementing wastewater treatment systems, using eco-friendly and non-toxic products, and properly managing hazardous waste. By preventing water pollution, businesses can protect water quality and contribute to providing safe drinking water for communities.
- Engage and partner with community: Businesses can actively engage with local communities and stakeholders to understand their water and sanitation needs and develop solutions that are inclusive and sustainable. This can include collaborating with local governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders to improve access to clean water and sanitation facilities, promote hygiene education, and support community-led water and sanitation initiatives. By engaging with communities, businesses can build trust, promote social responsibility, and contribute to inclusive and sustainable water and sanitation solutions.
- Invest in innovation and technology: Businesses can invest in innovative technologies and solutions to address water and sanitation challenges. This can include developing new water treatment technologies, promoting digital solutions for water management, and investing in research and development to advance sustainable water and sanitation practices. By embracing innovation and technology, businesses can drive positive change, improve water and sanitation practices, and create new opportunities for sustainable growth.
- Advocate for policy engagement: Businesses can actively advocate for policies and regulations that promote sustainable water and sanitation practices at local, national, and international levels. This can include participating in policy dialogues, supporting advocacy campaigns, and promoting responsible business practices through industry initiatives and voluntary standards. By engaging in advocacy and policy dialogue, businesses can contribute to creating an enabling environment for sustainable water and sanitation practices and influence positive change beyond their own operations.
Case Study: An agriculture big corporation plays their role in conserving water, reducing water pollution and improve water sanitation in Sabah, Malaysia.
Sabah, located on the island of Borneo in Malaysia, is known for its rich biodiversity and natural resources, including freshwater sources such as rivers and lakes. However, like many other regions, Sabah faces challenges in ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for all its communities. Rapid urbanisation, industrialisation, and deforestation have led to pollution, habitat destruction, and loss of water sources, resulting in adverse impacts on the environment and communities’ well-being.
In Sabah, the challenges related to SDG 6 are multifaceted. One of the major challenges is water pollution caused by human activities, including untreated sewage discharge, agricultural runoff, and industrial waste. Polluted water sources pose health risks to communities, threaten aquatic ecosystems, and compromise the sustainability of water resources in the long run. Additionally, limited access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation facilities, especially in remote and rural areas, is another challenge that Sabah faces. Lack of infrastructure, resources, and awareness about proper sanitation practices hinders progress towards achieving SDG 6 targets.
Amidst these challenges, one business that has taken significant steps to contribute to SDG 6 in Sabah is S Corporation, a leading agribusiness company specialising in palm oil production. Recognising the importance of water and sanitation in its operations and the communities where it operates, S Corporation has implemented several sustainability initiatives to address the challenges related to SDG 6.
Firstly, S Corporation has invested in modern wastewater treatment facilities at its palm oil mills. These facilities utilise advanced technologies to treat and manage wastewater generated during the palm oil production process, reducing the pollution load and ensuring that only treated water is released back into the environment. This has helped to mitigate the impact of water pollution caused by the company’s operations and contribute to maintaining the quality of local water sources.
Secondly, S Corporation has undertaken community-driven projects to provide access to clean water and sanitation facilities in rural areas of Sabah. This includes building water supply systems, constructing water wells, and providing basic sanitation facilities such as toilets and hand washing stations in remote villages. These efforts have helped to improve the overall health and well-being of local communities and contribute to achieving SDG 6 targets.
Furthermore, S Corporation has implemented water conservation measures in its operations, such as efficient water use practices, rainwater harvesting, and water recycling initiatives. These measures have resulted in reduced water consumption, minimised water waste, and improved water use efficiency, contributing to the company’s commitment to sustainable water management and SDG 6.
The initiatives undertaken by S Corporation have had a positive impact on SDG 6 in Sabah. The implementation of modern wastewater treatment facilities has significantly reduced the pollution load from the company’s operations, leading to improved water quality in the surrounding environment. The community-driven projects to provide clean water and sanitation facilities in rural areas have enhanced access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation practices, positively impacting the health and well-being of local communities. The water conservation measures implemented by S Corporation have also contributed to sustainable water management practices, conserving water resources and promoting responsible water use.
The impact of S Corporation’s efforts towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 in Sabah Malaysia has been significant. By investing in modern wastewater treatment facilities, initiating community-driven projects, and implementing water conservation measures, S Corporation has taken proactive steps towards responsible water management and showcased how strategic sustainability strategies could create massive impacts on the people and planet. These initiatives have resulted in reduced pollution in water bodies, improved access to clean water and sanitation facilities in rural areas, and efficient water usage in its operations.
Goal 6 | Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal6