Guiding Framework


Our vision is for Canada to support a prosperous future as a global leader in water sustainability.

The Blue Economy Initiative is a project founded by the Royal Bank of Canada, the Canadian Water Network, and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation. We have come together to ensure Canada becomes a global leader in water use and sustainability.

We seek to promote water sustainability from a new perspective – understanding the economic risks and benefits of decisions about water management. As individuals, and as a country, we need to know the value of water to our economy, the economic risks that will escalate if we mismanage it, and the clear economic benefits that could be realized if we manage water astutely.


Our mission is to catalyze well-informed water management decisions, policies and practices that ensure maximum social, environmental, and economic benefits to current and future generations.


Our main area of focus is to build the business case for water sustainability.

Our goals are to create and disseminate feature reports and case studies on economic aspects of water management and decision-making (value, benefits, risks) in order to:

    • Strengthen the national understanding of the VALUE of water to the economy, by supporting and promoting awareness of water’s many values and advocate for better accounting of water’s specific contribution to our economy.
    • Illuminate the opportunities, BENEFITS and means for sustainable water management. This includes avoidance of risk, improvements to overall efficiency and productivity, as well as accounting for the energy, financial and environmental co-benefits of using less water. We intend to advocate for the global “Blue Economy” that recognizes all economic development should be pursued within a water sustainability framework. We also seek to enable Canada to create “blue” jobs through innovation in the water and wastewater services and technologies sector.
    • Create broader awareness of the RISKS of failing to make sustainable decisions about water management by not accounting for its many values. This includes transparency about the risks inherent in business decisions and supply chain management that are directly related to water quality and availability.



We cannot afford to degrade ecosystem services – services that are likely to exceed traditional economic benefits by orders of magnitude. Short term economic benefit cannot be pursued at the expense of longer term economic and other benefits. No water is “waste” water.


Information is critical for due diligence in decision-making. Information about economi value, risks, and benefits is particularly lacking. This includes the need to account for true costs and benefits.


Resource and economic efficiency are linked and are paramount. We can do more with less.

Stewardship and leadership

We have a global responsibility for sound management of this resource.