Frequently Asked Questions

W4W is a partnership of private and public sector businesses and organizations which are working together to strengthen businesses contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 6 on water and sanitation.

Lack of access to safe water and sanitation remains one of the great challenges facing people worldwide.  2.1 billion people lack access to safe, readily available water at home while 4.5 billion people lack safely management sanitation. This lack of access impedes progress in the areas of health and education and continues to slow economic growth worldwide.

W4W aims to mobilize business to address WASH challenges in the workplace, in communities where companies operate and across supply chains.

W4W serves as a platform to align, coordinate, and expand efforts being undertaken by businesses, non-profit organizations, UN agencies, and others to achieve its goal of improving WASH outcomes.

W4W’s partners are a diverse group which includes Diageo, Gap, Global Citizen, the International Labor Organization, Sanitation and Water for All, the United Nations Foundation, the Global Compact CEO Water Mandate, Unilever, UNICEF, WaterAid, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor.

W4W is led by a Steering Group responsible for overall strategy and coherence, and coordinated by a small secretariat staff.  It has “Members” and “Pioneers”, collectively referred to as “Partners”.  Members are the non-business partners who contribute to the agenda by working on advocacy, participating in evidence and solution building or providing a platform for further commitments to action by partners.  The Pioneers are the business partners which are implementing good water stewardship practices and demonstrably contributing to the W4W agenda by participating in evidence gathering and solution building.

There are several reasons businesses should invest in WASH, including;

  • it can have a positive impact on the business model and bottom line,
  • it can produce wide ranging economic benefits and,
  • it serves as a direct contribution to the achievement of the SDGs.

For more information, please see the “Business Case for Investing in WASH” here

There are many ways in which businesses can take action to improve access to WASH.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring all employees have access to clean drinking water, safe sanitation, and appropriate hygiene in the workplace,
  • Mitigating negative impacts on community WASH by improving water efficiency, managing pollutants, and treating wastewater as part of a broader water stewardship framework and
  • Leveraging a company’s position to promote and require clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for workers and responsible water stewardship by the company’s suppliers.

But that is not all.  For a list of more actions businesses can take, please visit the “Take Action” section of W4W’s website here:

Governments can create an enabling environment to advance WASH access by;

  • Including business within national dialogues on delivery of WASH,
  • Developing and/or implementing standards for WASH within the workplace, including setting an example by ensuring safe WASH in all public sector workplaces and
  • Factor in the role that business can plan in advancing WASH access in relevant government policy, strategies and plans.

 For more WASH4Work resources please see the ILO Training Tool for WASH in the Workplace

Civil society, consumers and the public at large can;

  • Call on governments to enable business to achieve adequate WASH for employees,
  • Encourage companies to do more to respect and promote the rights to water and sanitation, in the workplace, supply chains and in communities where companies operate and
  • Recognize companies providing and promoting WASH for workers, in supply chains, and communities.