Love Water, Protect Water—WhiteWater’s Partnership with Swim Drink Fish—Sustainability Scorecard: Social Responsibility
With WhiteWater now placing an urgent focus on sustainability across the water park industry, a corporate-wide, structured approach has been introduced, called the Sustainability Scorecard. Our Scorecard consists of four parts: Corporate, Manufacturing and Supply Chain, Parks and Products, and Social Responsibility. This is the final installment of a five-part series, which we hope, will motivate players across the industry to take inspiration and join in with their own sustainability efforts.
On this World Water Day, WhiteWater is announcing a partnership with Swim Drink Fish, a Canadian charity advocating for safe, healthy water.
This partnership is part of the Social Responsibility component of WhiteWater’s Sustainability Scorecard—our holistic approach to environmental sustainability. Just as Earth’s ecosystems do not function in silos, we want to include participation in initiatives beyond our industry. This part of the Scorecard aims to donate 1% of corporate profits annually to a water-based NGO and support our employees to take on social responsibility.
What Does Swim Drink Fish Do?
“Swim Drink Fish is the right fit for WhiteWater because both our organizations are all about people enjoying and celebrating water,” said Una deBoer, WhiteWater’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We wanted to find a charity that is local yet internationally involved.”
This non-profit contends that “everyone has a right to swimmable, drinkable, fishable water” and believes that the path to start restoring and protecting our waters is by recognizing the meaningful ways we connect to them. The movement involves building relationships, including working with indigenous communities, to address complex environmental issues.
Water sampling tests for E.coli as well as monitors temperature, pH, turbidity, salinity, and dissolved oxygen
With four offices in Canada, Swim Drink Fish initiatives are active in 171 communities in 11 countries. One of the initiatives is Fraser Riverkeeper, part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a global network of 350 groups protecting local waters. The Swim Drink Fish team and its volunteers regularly monitor and sample the waters around Vancouver, with the data feeding into their app called “Swim Guide” that reports water quality for recreators at 8,000 beaches around the world.
Another one of their initiatives is of particular interest to WhiteWater.
“WhiteWater’s sponsorship is directly cleaning up waterways through Swim Drink Fish’s Vancouver Plastic Cleanup. Swim Drink Fish is installing, maintaining, and overseeing multiple Seabin trash trapping devices in Vancouver to engage in a waste characterization, plastic education, and advocacy project. This is made possible with the support from WhiteWater,” said Sadie Caron, Fraser Riverkeeper and Program Manager for Swim Drink Fish.
A Novel Floating Bin That Collects Garbage
Members of WhiteWater’s Sustainability Committee recently went to Granville Island in Vancouver to learn about the activities surrounding the Seabins, which were installed in the past year. These are essentially floating garbage cans attached to a dock that skim the surface of the water to capture floating debris. The team saw how the bins work and was surprised by how much microplastics were found upon emptying one.
In addition to removing and recycling the waste from the bins, Swim Drink Fish sorts and characterizes it to understand the source of the pollution, whether macroplastics, microplastics, or other materials. The data captured informs governments and businesses about how to target litter prevention.
So how does this relate to the attractions industry? “It’s tangible proof to say to water parks and theme parks, ‘Avoid single-use plastics,’” said Una.
Currently, there are 860 Seabins around the world, with four in operation in Vancouver. WhiteWater is sponsoring the installation and maintenance of more Seabins in the region. The waste characterization, together with water monitoring and sampling, will give us data trends over time to make better policy and infrastructure decisions as well as show the measurable impact Swim Drink Fish’s work is having.
Actively Participating in Social Responsibility
Beyond corporate donations, WhiteWater employees are encouraged to actively engage in social responsibility. In addition to participating in charitable events throughout the year, the company has adopted the river trail next to its corporate headquarters where employees take turns removing garbage to prevent waste from landing in the water.
Swim Drink Fish also offers several volunteer opportunities, for example, regular water sampling, waste characterization, major beach cleanups, and fundraising events.
One easy way everyone can contribute is by being a community scientist. By uploading photos of beaches and waters in the Swim Guide app, you provide evidence of what the shoreline looks like, how people recreate in the water, what creatures dwell there, and more. WhiteWater’s Endless Surf is a proud sponsor of several beaches in Swim Guide.
WhiteWater looks forward to supporting Swim Drink Fish with its continuing efforts to connect communities to clean water. After all, we have the common goal of wanting people to enjoy water.