Facilitating Business Sustainability through Law and Technology: The Case for Water

Jonathan Brun

Businesses like Levi’s, David’s Tea and Stella Artois made quite a splash this past World Water Day (March 22nd) by showcasing their water-saving strategies on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. In honour of World Water Day, the Nimonik team is highlighting how businesses use technological innovations in legal tracking to achieve sustainable water management.

Platforms like Nimonik can improve an organization’s environmental accountability while saving time and money in the process. Whether it be a mining site, a governmental department or a university, water consumption can have lasting impacts on an organization’s environmental footprint. For businesses in Canada, a country known for its abundant water resources, staying on top of changes in environmental law is too often left as a low-level priority.

Environmental laws and regulations in Canada, specifically pertaining to water, have gone through significant changes in the past five years. Under the previous government, laws involving water conservation were simplified in 2012 to reduce regulatory redundancies with the provincial governments. This led to greater leniency in the Environmental Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Species at Risk Act, among others. Ultimately, the regulatory burden has shifted from the federal government to the provinces, giving the latter more power to implement and enforce environmental legislation.

An outcome of this legal development has recently taken place in British Columbia, where the new “Water Sustainability Act” came into force February 29, 2016. This new regime for water management in the province replaces the former “Water Act” and now includes the regulation of groundwater, requiring all users of non-domestic (anything other than household use) groundwater to possess a license. For a list of other significant changes within the Water Sustainability Act, you can sign up to Nimonik’s legal updates service or begin a 20-day trial account.

Understanding changes in environmental law and maintaining compliance is critical for  businesses seeking sustainability. Businesses have a key role to play in how society chooses to manage the invaluable natural resources we have left – water being no exception. Ultimately, businesses are held accountable for meeting their financial, social and environmental obligations.  Technological advancements, as showcased by the Nimonik platform, give businesses the tools they need to emerge as leaders in environmental sustainability.

“We must always remember that business cannot succeed in a society that fails.”

– Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary General

“As we think about this crisis…we should think about how we can create a global economic architecture which works better, for more people, in a more sustainable way.”

– Joseph Stiglitz, former World Bank Vice President