Environmental Rights

Operations cause water pollution in high concentrations that pose a risk to human health and/or the ecosystem


Water pollution can result in illness and disease for humans and livestock, while destroying ecosystems and adversely impacting food security. For this reason, safe and clean drinking water is considered essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights. Pollution from agriculture or factory waste may cause serious health problems the local community, and even for people who live hundreds of miles away. In 2010, the Human Rights Council recognized that access to safe drinking water as a basic human right. The human right to safe drinking water also entitles everyone, without discrimination, to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use.


Furthermore, water sources can become compromised when businesses do not provide for proper waste management processes and sanitation facilities. In 2015, the UN General Assembly recognized that sanitation as a distinct human right. The human right to sanitation entitles everyone in all spheres of life and in all settings, without discrimination, to have physical and affordable access to sanitation that is safe, hygienic, secure, socially and culturally acceptable, and provides privacy and ensures dignity.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Article 25
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, Articles 11 and 12
United Nations Resolution on The Human Right to Water and Sanitation, 2010 (A/RES/64/292)



SDG 6.1

When companies prevent or mitigate water pollution risk, they contribute to SDG 6.1: Achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.

SDG 6.3
Likewise, efforts to prevent or mitigate this risk lead to achievements under SDG 6.3: Improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.