Understanding the Enabling Environment

Part of the Water Governance - Concepts, Methods, and Practice book series (WGCMP)


This chapter explores the emergence of corporate water stewardship. It puts forth the argument that it can be understood as an outcome of two wide trends: (a) the growing discontent with state-mandated water resources management, and (b) the concurrent renegotiation of businesses’ role in society. This conclusion is drawn through a comprehensive literature review of conventional water management practices, and the criticisms to which they have been subjected. Through these critiques, the rationale emerges for opening a debate on the renegotiation at the global level of the position of businesses, introducing this sector as stakeholders in water governance. Intrinsically linked to this is the co-propagation of the use of market mechanisms to rectify societal and environmental problems. Consequently, this chapter will also analyse the emergence of market environmentalism and argue that it is through corporate water stewardship that this trend has materialised within the water sector. Furthermore, the chapter sets up the framework to theorise corporate participation in global governance, understand how it operates, and explain how new ideas are generated and established in the political context.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography & Sustainable DevelopmentUniversity of St AndrewsSt AndrewsUK

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