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In terms of freshwater conservation, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) represent a critically important sector to work with. MSMEs account for the largest proportion of industrial operations and are collectively major users and polluters of water but, individually, have the least capacity and resources to allocate to improving their environmental performance and engaging with water stewardship.

WWF’s freshwater teams in China, India and Pakistan have engaged actively with MSMEs in specific parts of the Yangtze, Ganga and Indus basins respectively, with the aim of achieving more sustainable management of water resources, in terms of both quality and quantity. This has been achieved through the establishment of pioneering mechanisms that facilitate collective engagement of MSMEs in water stewardship initiatives to influence water governance and to better manage their shared water risks.

The specific conservation challenges, socio-economic contexts, and industrial profiles of each country and basin meant that different strategies were needed in the different locations. Much of the work has been ground-breaking in nature and focused on the establishment of innovative mechanisms for collaborative action together with the implementation of compelling pilot/demonstration projects.

In China, WWF worked to promote cleaner production within the textile sector in the context of Industrial Parks (enterprise clusters); in India, WWF focused on the metalware and leather industries; in Pakistan, WWF helped implement best practices in the textile, pulp & paper, leather, and sugar sectors and set up a multi-stakeholder platform.

Read the case study (2017) PDF