Business leaders from 162 companies from around the globe have endorsed the CEO Water Mandate, a United Nations Global Compact initiative. Working with major NGOs, including the Pacific Institute, World Wildlife Fund and Nature Conservancy, companies address key aspects of water use, sanitation and U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

In more than 960 projects, the companies commit to make continuous progress against six core elements of water stewardship that mean they will understand and manage their own water risks. The elements are: 1. Direct operations, 2. Supply chain and watershed management, 3. Collective action, 4. Public policy, 5. Community engagement, and 6. Transparency.

To support common goals, the CEO Water Mandate website offers a page defining “Key Water Stewardship Terms.” There, “water scarcity,” “water stress” and “water risk” are defined at a high level, followed by more-detailed definitions and descriptions of how to apply the terms.

It’s going to take a village – a global village – to ensure that our planet, its people and our companies have the water we need.