COVID-19 HAS REINFORCED THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR BASIC ESSENTIAL: WATER
Gary White and Matt Damon, Co-founders Water.org
In 2020, the most severe pandemic in over a century put the global economy on life-support.
Frequent handwashing with soap is one of the first lines of defence in slowing the spread of infectious diseases, and Covid-19 reinforced the importance of our most basic essential: water.
And yet, safe water and sanitation are chronically, tragically underfunded. 3 billion people – 40% of the world’s population – lack access to basic hand-washing facilities in their homes.
Last year we also witnessed the devastating consequences of climate change as intense weather events and major fires threatened an already unstable balance between people, their health, their ecosystems, and economies. These detrimental changes painfully illustrated that those who contribute least to its causes – those living in poverty – are the very people who suffer the most.
We cannot separate water and sanitation from personal and economic health.
That’s why 2022 must be the year we address the unequal access of it as a strategic and necessary action, building global resilience to the impacts of infectious disease and climate change. This ensures that we maintain (or better yet improve) the balance of people and planet.
We can begin with prioritising environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in our philanthropic and impact investment decision-making process. This is true for companies, individuals, and investment managers.
Non-profit organisations such as Water.org work to create an equal playing field through access to safe water and sanitation. Investment managers can choose impact investment funds, like WaterEquity, to create positive social and environmental transformation while maintaining positive returns.
Doing so will build vital resilience, creating health, hope, and a bright future for billions.