Engaging specific audiences to build an on-ramp for Water Funds (and other TNC work on water security)
This short note outlines the rationale for some work underway at The Nature Conservancy in 2020 and keeps a small focus group up to date on recent developments.
TNC’s partners have different starting points and different objectives regarding water security
A strategy meeting in September 2019 brought together a dozen people to discuss TNC’s efforts to date to engage partners on Water Funds and issues of water security more broadly. This comprised members of global teams as well as representation from Africa and Latin America.
One of the key insights shared at the meeting was that the TNC staff and partners working on Water Funds engage with a wide range of actors —there is a very broad constituency.
Yet when it comes to sharing knowledge and / or training quite different groups, we have often deployed the same or similar content.
Content that was originally developed in order to train those that will implement Water Funds on the ground. Not all of which is seamlessly transferable to other audiences.
A key recommendation from the strategy group was that TNC look at ways to make the communications around water funds ‘less monolithic’ .
In practice, this means preparing different materials for different audiences.
A project is underway in Indonesia that seeks to establish one or more demonstration sites to show how water security can be improved. This will inform the work of a national coalition that is being built — to share knowledge within Indonesia on issues of water security and to advocate for policy and other changes that improve it.
Corporate partners are a key driving force behind the establishment of this Indonesian national coalition.
Engaging Corporate Partners
As part of the preparation for the Sept 2019 strategy meeting, consultation was held with different corporate partners as to their relationship with TNC and how much it had lived up to their expectations. ABInbev was a key respondent during this process.
Feedback was clear: TNC could do more to customise its training and knowledge sharing to the specific needs of its corporate partners.
The first response to this was to organise specific webinars, on specific topics, for ABInbev staff — as part of a broader funding agreement with them.
We then began to discuss how a broader, more customised training package could be rolled out, not only for one organisation, but for several corporate partners working together. ABInbev and PepsiCo were both open to this sort of collaboration.
A shorter version of this rollout is to be pioneered in Indonesia, by creating short ‘modules’ specifically geared at corporate partners — together comprising a three hour training package. This will be multi-layered with short form aspects for ‘Executive Takeaways’ — as well as more in-depth material for those who wish to progress further.
Water Funds as seen from the perspective of corporates
There are many reasons for engaging corporate partners on issues of water security — from the desire to influence their own practices and those of their suppliers, to working with them to bring about desirable policy change, to benefiting from their flexible investment in the early days of Water Funds.
Yet we must also recognise that there are a range of options for corporates wishing to tackle water security — and a range of other organisations already working with them, or ready to work with them, on this.
Arguably it helps to be more explicit about not only what Water Funds are, but how they can and cannot help corporates deal with the issues they face.
Whether these are national champions or multinationals. Whether these are agro-processing firms or large beverage companies.
This draft briefing note is the first step in this process.
Drafted by TNC staff Michael Matosich and David Schaub-Jones, we attempt to ‘put ourselves in the shoes’ of corporate partners and make the case not just for Water Funds, but also for tackling water security in the first instance.
We try to be open about not only what Water Funds can deliver for corporate leaders —in not just the CSR departments, but also in Operations — but also what they cannot deliver.
We recognise that this note may be on the long side for some of our partners — and that the written form may not be the only means to engage with them. But the idea is to agree on the broad content at this point and later look at how to build off it (for instance, for the three hour module that our Indonesian colleagues are expecting).
What would we like from you?
We would very much appreciate your help in refining both the content and eventual form of this engagement.
The first step in that process is to read, review and comment on the draft we have sent you.
You will have this in email, but please find the draft here and the feedback form (with some structured questions to guide you) here.
The video below will be regularly updated with responses to FAQs. We will also let you know by email when there is significant new content to engage with on this page.
Thanks again for your help in this endeavour,
David and Michael
Will you only be engaging with corporates in this way?
In these difficult times, how much energy should TNC be investing in corporate engagement?