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Joint event focuses attention on one of region's most urgent sustainability issues

Businesses may be overlooking the water element in their business sustainability agenda, delegates have been told at a business forum co-hosted by ACCA, the Institute of Corporate Responsibility Malaysia (ICR Malaysia) and the Malaysia Association of Water (MWA) at the Securities Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

Entitled Business and water: should we be concerned?, the forum considered the importance of water as a lifeblood to business, and stressed the need for companies to monitor and record their water footprints.

'Water should be high on the business agenda as all companies depend on it - especially in the manufacturing, power generation, food processing, agriculture, paper and drinks sectors, which are particularly water intensive,' said Ainul Ibrahim, an ACCA Malaysia representative on the event's organising committee.

Among the forum's panellists were Encik Ahmad Zahdi Jamil, president of the Malaysia Water Association, Detlef Krost, Nestle's executive director for production, Dato' Teoh Yen Hua, chief executive of SPAN (Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara), and Professor Carol Adams, director of the Sustainability Faculty of Law and Management at La Trobe University Australia.

In addition to discussions on the business implications of water management and security, the panellists also provided some useful guidance on how companies can calculate and observe their own impacts while ensuring best practice.

'ACCA, ICR Malaysia and MWA believe it is important to generate awareness on the link between water and business,' said Ainul. 'We hope that the forum highlighted concerns and issues on water sustainability, as well as provide ideas on how businesses can meet these challenges.'

The forum was supported by HSBC, Nestle and Ranhil Utilities Sdn Bhd.