Sustainable decision making for the UK water industry
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Sustainable development serves as a comprehensive framework for the formation of policies and actions that integrate environmental, economic, and social issues. It recognises that the Earth's natural systems are not only critical to basic economic needs, but also to human quality of life. There are now increasing public and legislative demands for water service providers to use this ‘triple bottom line’ approach in weighing their role, responsibilities and risks to people, planet and profit. These sustainable development principles are of prime importance to the water industry and should be viewed as an opportunity rather than a business constraint. However, translating these principles into concrete action is not a simple task. The Sustainable Water industry Asset Resource Decisions (SWARD) project has explored the difficulties that organisations face when making asset investment decisions, particularly the way in which sustainability considerations are included in these processes. SWARD has devised a framework of decision support processes that can be used to include the principles of sustainability more effectively within the decision-making processes.