Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Water management must be at the core of ESG strategy

A survey from EIRIS.org: Only a tiny fraction of the world's biggest companies are adequately managing the various risks they face from water shortages, drought and pollution, according to new research from independent environmental, social and governance (ESG) research provider EIRIS. Under a current business-as-usual scenario water demand is set to outstrip supply by 40% by 2030. This has the potential to put USD 63 trillion of global GDP at risk by 2050.

EIRIS' report “A drought in your portfolio: are global companies responding to water scarcity?” shows that 54% of 2,000 global companies analysed are exposed to water risks but take little or no action to mitigate them. Around half show no evidence of any management response to water risks whatsoever. EIRIS research findings include:
  • 54% of 2,000 global companies are exposed to water risks, but only 0.22% have adequate management systems, policies and reporting mechanisms in place to tackle the risks;
  • sectors such as oil & gas, mining, power generators, semi-conductor plants, retail chains and agriculture are heavily reliant on water and show high water risk exposure, and;
  • of those companies exposed to water risks only 9.7% have set either short or long-term targets on water consumption. Furthermore, only 9.7% have set targets on water quality.
However, further analysis reveals more promise. 36% of companies have at least acknowledged water as an issue that needs to be addressed and 22% demonstrate that they are monitoring water consumption.

Randeep Sanghera, report author and lead water analyst at EIRIS, said "The era of cheap and easy access to water is coming to end for companies. This poses a potentially far greater threat to business than the loss of other natural resources, including oil, yet the majority of companies and investors remain unaware of the risks they face"…

Shot by KoS, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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