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Motivate private sector engagement by clarifying the business case for your project


Motivate private sector engagement by clarifying the business case for your project

Motivate private sector engagement by clarifying the business case for your project

Posted on August 31, 2021 by Lillian Holmes

Authoring Organizations: CEO Water Mandate
Consulting Organizations: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Universal: No
Applicable Phases: Commit
Last Updated May 22, 2024


When approaching private sector audiences with a new potential partnership, frame key project outcomes in terms of the business case. For water stewardship projects, be sure to alert potential partners to the cost effectiveness or return on investment for implementing new technologies or stewardship practices. Describe opportunities to access new stewardship technology and practices, protect a business’s long-term viability, and improve visibility as a responsible steward of resources.


  • Framing a new initiative around the business case both helps a business recognize when to engage and encourages project partners to focus attention on the most meaningful outputs when developing a project plan.
  • Strategic framing can help engage those partners most likely to benefit from the intervention.


  • Don’t underestimate the value of visibility: plan opportunities for communication of project results that will raise awareness of all partners’ involvements and contributions. Then, share these plans with potential partners.
  • All project plans and outcomes should be based on the needs of the community, including the business community. Undertake this step only after conducting a robust needs assessment in collaboration with the local community. Where possible, ask guiding organizations or consultative partners for insights into the key stewardship needs of businesses in the region.
  • Use Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework Tool 15: Business Case to understand estimated project costs and revenues and ensure the financial feasibility of the partnership.


Since 2018, the UN Global Compact Local Network Colombia (UNGC Colombia) has run a successful campaign to recognize outstanding Colombian companies. The campaign offers recognition to the companies that best promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The opportunity for visibility proved highly motivating for companies, with more than 150 companies applying to the initiative in 2021. UNGC Colombia notes that companies who submit to the program often are new to sustainability and may not yet be members of the UN Global Compact.

In 2020, the program began weekly sessions to showcase winning companies’ best practices – with the session often delivered by the winning company’s CEO – to increase the visibility of the winners and the initiative, as well as inspire other companies by demonstrating the potential of stewardship to cut costs and improve water security.

Projects that have validated this Lesson

None found.

This lesson learned reflects the beliefs and experiences of the author, not necessarily the Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, or UN Global Compact.