Major worldwide companies failing to address water scarcity

The majority of the world's largest companies lack a long-term water strategy, according to a report from the professional services company KPMG.

Called Sustainable Insight- Business Responses to Water Scarcity, the report provides analysis of the corporate responsibility (CR) reports of the largest companies across 34 countries, including the world's top 250 companies.

The findings reveal that the 60% of the largest companies globally do not demonstrate a long-term strategy to deal with water scarcity in their CR reporting.

Vincent Neate, head of climate change and sustainability at KPMG in the UK, said while the issue of water scarcity is rising in the public consciousness, many leading companies are not yet taking steps to reduce their water consumption but that investors would increasingly require it.

"Many companies have not yet fully grasped the importance of strategic planning or communication in relation to long term water supply mitigation and use. Investors are becoming more aware of the risks and opportunities that water scarcity represents within their portfolios and are increasingly looking for companies to build responses into their longer-term strategies," he said.

The report used research from the top 250 companies listed on the Fortune Global 500 (G250) for the year 2010 and the 100 largest companies by revenue (N100) from 34 countries.

It found that while three quarters of the world's largest 250 companies address water issues in CR reports, only a small proportion currently report on the water footprint of any part of their supply chain, and none had reported on the water footprint of its entire supply chain.

Of the companies that produce a CR report, 95% of Indian companies, 69% of Spanish companies and 66% of UK companies include specific plans to reduce water usage. This contrasts with just 24% of Chinese companies and 27% of Japanese companies.

The transportation and utilities sector demonstrated particularly low rates of reporting compared with other industries.

Conor McGlone


supply chain | Water scarcity | Water reduction strategy


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