John Dundon (chairman of the BWCA) explained: “We are living in a time of cutbacks. The feedback we’re getting from our members is that many office-based contracts, especially in the public sector, are either not getting renewed or are simply getting cancelled.
“In short, we’re a soft target. Many employers are under pressure to make cost savings across the working environment, and the removal of water provision, either as coolers or POU, is an easy win. The cancellation of a contract makes a prominent and visible statement to the financial masters that savings are being made by removing perceived work-based ‘luxuries’ such as accessible water provision.”
The BWCA believe this is a short-term attitude that needs to be checked immediately to prevent a domino effect cascading throughout industry sectors.
John added: “We need to send out a very strong and very immediate message that getting rid of water provision is neither cost effective nor good for business.
“We are aware that there is a lot of good work already being done by organisations such as the National Hydration Council to highlight the importance of hydration in all walks of life. What the BWCA needs to do now is to harness this energy and awareness and apply it to the workplace and to those who matter.”
Public relations company Weber Shandwick is working with the BWCA to roll out the Stay Cooler! campaign over the summer months.
“We have to focus on the positives of the products and services our members provide, and of the value we bring to UK business through investment and employment provision.
“We are already rolling out a programme of local politician visits to our members’ site HQs, which is building us a solid base of support across the corridors of power and providing excellent opportunities to show the true value of our industry.
“We are also securing further support from unions and other workplace organisations, and at the end of June we will host a fringe event as part of the 2011 Local Government Group Annual Conference in Birmingham, allowing us direct engagement with our key influencers.”
As well as targeting the decision makers, the Stay Cooler! campaign is also using social networking and media techniques to harness consumer awareness of water provision, and empowering consumers to join the campaign. This includes setting up a Facebook page to drive discussion and debate about water provision in the workplace.