Water Ambition Collective Action Projects

The Courtauld Commitment 2025 Water Ambition focusses on a number of key locations for UK food & drink where we can collectively make the most difference. These Collective Action Projects have been selected based on discussions with food & drink businesses on the areas in which they have shared water risks, as well as having been identified as:

  • Key sourcing regions for critical food & drink raw materials (e.g. fruit & veg, cereals, dairy, livestock);
  • Vulnerable /water stressed areas with known water scarcity or water quality issues; and/or
  • Having strong partnerships already in place which would benefit from greater industry participation.

We recognise that individual businesses cannot work directly in every location where they face water risks. It is recommended that interested organisations focus in a small number, of these locations – where it makes most business sense to do so. Working with the Rivers Trust, WWF and others, WRAP aims to help spread the effort across these areas, so that, by taking action in one area, businesses can also benefit from actions that are taking place in other areas.

Cam & Ely Ouse (CamEO) and Broadlands catchments (East Anglia)

Coca-Cola has worked with WWF-UK and the Norfolk Rivers Trust since 2012 to support water sensitive farming practices in both catchments, which are key sourcing locations for its supply chains in terms of sugar beet. Further support was subsequently provided by Tesco, who  recognised its value in terms of biodiversity and supply chain resilience   The project  will continue to  upscale the existing exemplary water-friendly farming work, encouraging more businesses and land managers to get involved.

Medway catchment (South East)

This project will identify the priority risk areas for agriculture in the catchment  and develop best practices for water efficiency and surface water management, and wild life improvements, outside of polytunnel and greenhouses which can then be shared across the food and drink sector. There will be an initial piece of work to assess the priority risks in the catchment and develop actions to address these.

Tamar catchment (South West)

This project will support and expand the range of best practice initiatives available to reduce the impact of agriculture, particularly from dairy farming and build water resilience within the catchment. Further information to follow soon.

Eden catchment (Cumbria)

Nestlé has initiated work in this catchment, working with their dairy farmers (First Milk) and delivery partners, including the Rivers Trust, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and Catchment Sensitive Farming to develop and test farm level interventions to enhance water quality, soil quality, habitat, animal health and productivity. A four year project is also underway, coordinated by N8 Agrifood, to assess the multifunctional benefits of these interventions and optimise impact. Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership have produced a case study of this work to date.

This is the first stage of a collaborative approach to catchment management. This work is using the Landscape Enterprise Network (LENs) model to engage business and strengthen the strategic partnerships in the catchment area.

Wye & Usk catchment (South West/Wales)

Following the establishment of the Wye Catchment Partnership (WCP) in 2014 there is now a shared understanding of the principal problems in the catchment and their causes. The WCP acts as a focal hub in delivering actions to correct the issues that have been collectively identified. A collective action project  now being developed under Courtauld 2025 and led by the Rivers Trust now provides the opportunity to identify some of the key issues from supply chains within the catchments for businesses to get involved in developing the solutions.

South Africa

The project work will initially focus on the Western Cape which is a key sourcing area for stone fruit. It will build on work already established in key catchments, and support regional and national advocacy to improve the management of water resources.

Kenya

The project will include catchment-level activities to address the main drivers of water risk for businesses, communities and nature, as well as regional and national level advocacy work.

Spain

This project will build on existing initiatives already underway in Spain as well as seeking to expand into new areas of work.

Governance

A Water Projects Oversight Panel will provide overarching project governance; and progress will be measured against key water stress metrics for each location. For more information, and to find out more on any of these projects, contact Karen Fisher.

Further information 

A number of excellent water stewardship initiatives are already in action.  In the UK the Rivers Trust oversees the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA).  CaBA partnerships are actively working in 100+ catchments across England and Wales.