Including AWS Water Stewardship in Sustainable Natural Rubber Production

14 November 2022

There is an urgent need to include good water stewardship practices in the sustainable production of natural rubber to increase resilience to water-related risks and transform companies into good water stewards. The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), defines water stewardship as the use of water that is socially and culturally equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically beneficial, achieved through a stakeholder-inclusive process that involves site- and catchment-based actions.

Good water stewards understand their own water use, catchment context and shared concerns in terms of water governance, water balance, water quality, Important Water-Related Areas (IWRAs), and safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all (WASH) and then engage in meaningful individual and collective actions that benefit people, the economy and nature. Demonstrating the role of business in responsible water stewardship is an essential way forward, including in the agriculture and natural rubber sector where the supply chain extends globally.

Improved performance on good water stewardship, as defined by the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), by the natural rubber sector will support sustainable production, increase the sector’s resilience to water-related risks and increase the sector’s role as good water stewards at catchment or landscape level. AWS and Global Platform for Sustainable Natural (GPSNR) Secretariat collaborated in a two-year project of ‘Boosting sustainability practice and performance at the landscape level through good water stewardship’ developing a strategic document called Pathways towards good water stewardship by the natural rubber sector.

This report has been developed by AWS and GPSNR to inform its members on how to strengthen water stewardship practices as part of GPSNR Policy Framework and to achieve good water stewardship leadership through the implementation of the International Water Stewardship Standard V2.0, or the AWS Standard. As an initial step of the process, a crosswalk was done between GPSNR Policy Framework and AWS Standard V2.0. The crosswalk found a total of 39% overlap between GPSNR Policy Components with all AWS Standard indicators. These overlaps indicate that the actions on water of GPSNR members could already put them on a pathway to implementing the AWS Standard.

Based on the crosswalk result, 5 priority topics on water stewardship in the GPSNR Policy Framework are identified:

  1. Strengthen and maintain legal compliance on water
  2. Protection of natural forests and ecosystems
  3. Protection of water quantity and quality
  4. Ensure safe WASH for workers and supporting safe WASH for local communities
  5. Addressing water risks that are embedded in the site’s supply chain

For each of the topics above, the associated guidance for water stewardship actions is provided by the AWS Standard Guidance. This report also provides insights on the benefits for good water stewardship implementation by a natural rubber processor, taking into consideration the recommendations for the 6 topics above.

The document also provides suggestions on how to integrate good water stewardship into sustainable natural rubber production at landscape level. This is done through the adoption of the physical scope concept as defined in the AWS Standard to move sustainable action on water to scale. This can support more informed decision-making in addressing water risks, and support shared value creation in the larger catchment and landscape. The recommendations in this pathways document focuses primarily on categories directly involved in the natural rubber production and processing: growers, and processors.

The report was prepared through consultative processes with GPSNR Secretariat and selected members of GPSNR. The recommendations presented in the report are voluntary and the report is not an AWS Normative Documents. To be able to gain full understanding of good water stewardship, the AWS Standard and the intention and requirements of its indicators, download AWS Standard and Guidance at: 

Download the summary document and please contact AWS to get access to the full report  

Contact (Mr) Fany Wedahuditama: for more information and further collaboration.

This Pathways report is part of a set of reports resulting from the “Boosting Sustainability Practice and Performance at Landscape Level through Good Water Stewardship” project. It was developed by Yayasan Aliansi Wali Sumber Daya Indonesia (Yayasan AWS Indonesia) and the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), in collaboration with the GPSNR Secretariat. This project was possible thanks to a grant from the ISEAL Innovations Fund which is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO.