World's biggest companies failing on water risk management

A new report has concluded that only a tiny fraction of large global companies are taking action on managing water scarcity.

The report is produced by EIRIS, the independent environmental, social and governance (ESG) research provider.

Among the findings are that 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.

The report highlights 11 sectors, including oil and gas, mining, power generators, semi-conductor plants, retail chains and agriculture as being heavily reliant on water and show high water risk exposure.

However, only 9.7% of these companies have set either short or long-term targets on water consumption and only 9.7% have set targets on water quality.

The report estimates that under a current business-as-usual scenario water demand is set to outstrip supply by 40% by 2030.

EIRIS lead water analyst and report author, Randeep Sanghera, 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".

The report does show some potential for action from some companies. It says that 36% of companies have acknowledged that water is an issue that needs to be addressed and 22% demonstrate that they are monitoring water consumption.

The EIRIS report says investors should be assessing their companies' water risks and should be making the management of water a core part of their environmental strategy.

You can read the full report on the EIRIS website. Alison Brown


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