In recent years, the WWF-Mondi Water Stewardship Partnership has broadened its focus to promote social learning and expand stakeholder engagement together with best practice in the management of freshwater ecosystems across whole catchments. This is critical, as isolated good practice by a single player cannot address the complex challenges that face water resource management in these catchments.
Our partnership with WWF brings key stakeholders together who have a shared interest in maintaining freshwater ecosystems and services at the landscape level – including farmers, local government and corporate land users (forestry and industry). Applying social learning helps to engage key water users and stakeholders more effectively, and to ensure effective adaptive management in the roll out of these catchment partnerships.
Over the past decade, what started as a local partnership between Mondi and WWF in South Africa, has grown into a global partnership. Its work has expanded beyond the original boundaries of wetlands restoration within Mondi’s own plantations to provide a wide, cross-functional, landscape-level focus that is establishing links between our pulp and paper mills, our forestry operations and sourcing areas, and the water-catchments in which they are located. In the uMhlathuze and upper uMngeni catchments in South Africa, our work is successfully engaging other sectors such as forestry companies (e.g. Sappi), citrus and sugar cane growers and the dairy sector.
The success of our partnership has been widely recognised in some key forums. For example, in October 2018, Viv McMenamin, CEO of Mondi South Africa, was a keynote speaker at the Financial Times Water Summit in London, which focused on how companies can collaborate to solve shared water challenges and generate better returns on investments in river basins where they operate.