New analysis reveals water management trails climate change on the boardroom agenda, despite significant near-term risk and opportunity
Dec 01, 2011
The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Water Disclosure global report finds that 57% of the 190 publicly listed organizations that participated in the survey report board-level oversight of water policies, strategies, or plans. By comparison, a report released by CDP in September 2011 showed that 94% of Global 500 companies report board-level oversight of climate change, suggesting that corporate understanding of water as a business concern trails that of climate change. This is surprising, given that the majority of reported water-related risks and opportunities are recognized as near term.
- Companies are demonstrating that the relationship between water and energy use is widely understood, with 72% of companies reporting linkages or trade-offs between water and carbon emissions.
- Over a third of companies (38%) are unaware of whether they are exposed to water risk in their supply chains. In the Consumer Discretionary sector, which is dominated by industries that are particularly exposed to supply chain risk (e.g., retailers, hotels, resorts, and automobile manufacturers) this figure rises to 41%.
- Energy companies report a high level of risk (72%), yet report the lowest levels of board oversight of water policies, strategies, or plans (36%).
- The biggest water risk facing businesses in their direct operations is water stress or scarcity (41%), followed by flooding (24%), reputational damage (23%), and higher compliance costs (21%). One company reported that it had already experienced a water-related impact at a cost of US$200 million.
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