Resources for businesses

Within the DRY and About Drought projects, we were keen to garner stories about business experiences of UK drought and their wider relationships to water.  We found that any thinking about drought resilience tended to be embedded in developing sustainable business practices – linking economic, environmental, social and cultural concerns.  For business people, water figured in this planning alongside other concerns like energy and waste.

cask washer meter crop by Vernon Amor

Our research processes

In our work with business, where possible, we co-worked with Professional Bodies as key gatekeepers to the businesses we spoke to. In addition to the business interviews already undertaken by the University of Sheffield in DRY, during the About Drought project, we undertook narrative interviews with 18 further water-intensive businesses. We worked with three business sectors:

After the interviews, we worked with some of these businesses to develop digital stories  (audio with images) and micro narratives (short audio) where the author reflected on their business’s water practices and drought resilience.  Here we were keen to diversify the message and the messenger about preparing for UK drought.  This also applied to sharing and building positive water behaviors that have potential to decrease drought impacts – for businesses themselves.  Businesses promoting their water efficiency may also act as powerful messengers for members of the public who use their products and services…

Photo by Fyne Ales Brewery, Scotland

Resources generated

During the research timeline, we ran three group discussion events:

  • Event debrief: ENDOWS business stakeholders meeting 31st Oct 2017: Business impacts of water scarcity (see event debrief)
  • Thinking Sustainability H2O: a workshop promoting water management and resilience for small businesses 4th December, 2018 (see information)
  • A business event in Reading run with Reading Business Climate Action Network Building Business Resilience to Floods and Droughts in Reading and the SE on 26th February 2020 (see Programme)

Videos of some presentations from this event can be accessed here:

Emergent themes from business across sectors

We found some common themes.  Hear the stories in the infographic below.