Retailers are key to cutting water usage

KBB retailers need to make the most of increasing consumer interest in sustainability by supporting the Unified Water Label, says MD Yvonne Orgill. Doing so will avoid a mandatory scheme devised by Government, not industry…

Yvonne Orgill, the MD of the Unified Water Label Association (UWLA)

Having spent five days at ISH, the leading trade fair for HVAC and Water held in Frankfurt in March, it was clear that many manufacturers are investing in technology to deliver sustainable products that will help us use less water and energy. I sense a real shift in opinion, with businesses committing to address the issues of climate change.

This is reflected in the response we received to the Unified Water Label, with an unprecedented number of enquiries to join or support the scheme.

Visibility of the Unified Water Label is growing with the support of large, international retailers such as Ikea and Globus promoting the label on their websites, on product packaging and across marketing material.

What we have yet to see is the independent KBB retailer fully embrace the Unified Water Label, putting them in danger of missing out and losing a commercial boost to their business.

Consumer interest in sustainability is growing and recent research shows that they are willing to change behaviour patterns so that they can have a positive impact on the planet. There is a growing awareness of the link between saving water and saving energy in the home, and high fuel prices and the cost-of-living crisis are also changing attitudes, with more people wanting to save energy in order to save money.


The adverse impacts of climate change are increasingly dominating worldwide news. The recent report from the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), pulls no punches, warning that climate-driven water insecurity is expected to grow unless we take action now. UN secretary-general António Guterres said that climate action is needed on all fronts – “everything, everywhere, all at once”.

This is a message the Unified Water Label Association (UWLA) endorses and why it is important to promote the Unified Water Label as a smart solution that can help consumers use less water in the home. The Unified Water Label empowers consumers to make choices favouring more water-efficient fixtures and appliances, without compromising on quality of experience.

Frontline retailers can influence and educate consumers directly on how much water different products use, as well as the consequences of their actions and behaviour in the home once these products are purchased. Changing behaviour is key.

Water illustration

UWLA has also developed a range of tools and marketing packs to help retailers. The packs have been developed to help them drive home the Water Matters message and help consumers understand the link between using water, energy and their carbon footprint. The pack includes flyers, posters, social media posts and videos, with tips and advice on how to save water.

In addition, a full retailer pack is under development. This will include best-practice solutions for integrating the Unified Water Label into the showroom, based on the experiences of two leading KBB retailers that will be hosting showcases later in the year.

Governments across Europe are addressing the issue and incorporating water-saving targets into their environmental goals. In the UK, a government consultation on introducing compulsory water labelling for water-using fittings and appliances has recently concluded.

We have recommended that the voluntary Unified Water Label is the solution.

A mandatory label will not benefit the industry. It will be significantly more expensive than a voluntary one, take away the flexibility that the industry now has to operate a system that meets their needs and leave it exposed to an enforcement body that will have the power to impose sanctions.

KBB retailers can work with us for the benefit of the industry, and for their own commercial gain, to promote the Unified Water Label.

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