Water scarcity

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President of Hungary Janos Ader called on businesses to prevent a looming water crisis Photo courtesy of Financial Times Live

Businesses urged to view water as economic risk rather than environmental issue

Efforts to combat water scarcity are "absent from the portfolios" of investors, and it is now the responsibility of the private sector to step up water efficiency practices to build understanding that water is an economic risk as well as an environmental one.

An effective response to the significant and growing risk of drought in England and Wales is possible if concerted action is taken now, Water UK says

UK businesses face increasing risk of drought, warns water sector

Companies are being called upon to ramp up water efficiency measures, share best practices and water consumption and open up new communication streams surrounding water conservation after a new report commissioned by water companies revealed the growing risk of drought facing the UK.

The report notes that the rise in extreme weather scenarios will impact energy security unless smarter systems are introduced

Smarter energy systems crucial to combatting diverse new climate risks

An overhaul of financing mechanisms and policy framework is necessary to develop "smarter, not just stronger" energy markets, which will need to combat "unprecedented strains" arising from new climate commitments, a new report from the World Energy Council (WEC) has found.

edie has brought together the best water sustainability innovations into one neat and tidy blue bubble

World Water Week: Six innovations to quench the global thirst for clean water

With World Water Week bringing experts and innovators to Stockholm to foster new thinking and develop solutions to water-related issues, edie rounds-up the projects and products that could aid efforts to combat water scarcity.

The UK must prepare for the oncoming storm of climate change by introducing measures to mitigate flooding, heatwaves and water scarcity among other lesser known risks

UK must prepare for 'inevitable changes' of climate risks, warns advisers

The UK must work to implement immediate action to mitigate the "urgent" effects of climate change which looks set stifle food production, reduce water supplies and lead to thousands of deaths as temperatures rise, a new report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has warned.

With the majority of aquifers lying across national borders, companies have to deal with water scarcity issues without governance

Businesses urged to combat water scarcity and become 'stewards of limited resources'

Businesses have been warned that in order to thrive in a low-carbon future they must first "navigate a mosaic of global realities", that has seen water scarcity hit a variety of regions and threaten to destabilise infrastructure, extractives and agriculture.

Coachella Valley in California - an area grappling with shrinking water supplies

Humans damaging the environment faster than it can recover, UN finds

Degradation of the world's natural resources by humans is rapidly outpacing the planet's ability to absorb the damage, meaning the rate of deterioration is increasing globally, the most comprehensive environmental study ever undertaken by the UN has found.

There may not be a silver bullet to tackle water use, but that hasn’t stopped a collaborative push to tackle the issue

#WorldWaterDay: Green groups and businesses unite in fresh awareness drive

With today (22 march) marking the UN's World Water Day, edie has rounded up all of the latest company announcements and industry statistics that together highlight how critical the issue of water scarcity has become.

Waterscan's system is the first of its kind to be approved by the Regulation and Supervision Bureau for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Premier Inn slashes water use by 24%

An innovative greywater recycling systems has helped one of Whitbread's newest hotels reduce water use by nearly a quarter in one of the world's highest water consuming countries.

20,000 refugees die prematurely each year as a result of pollution from fuel burning, cooking techniques

Refugee camps' energy bills over $2bn due to neglected energy efficiency

The energy consumption of refugee camps has been neglected by international governments and humanitarian agencies, costing an estimated $2bn annually, according to a consortium of NGOs and think tanks.

Green Halloween: 7 scary sustainability stats

It's the time of year for fancy dress, scary movies, vampires and werewolves. But there are real horrors in the world lurking in the shadows; creeping out of exhaust pipes and rising from the tombs of forgotten costumes and plastic broomsticks.

Water is a forgotten factor of production...the primary challenge is therefore to make the forgotten unforgettable

Collaboration and innovation vital to solve 'forgotten problems' of water scarcity

Both the public and private sectors need to realise there is no 'silver bullet' to deal with the rising yet largely ignored water scarcity crisis, a panel of industry experts has concluded.

The 150-hectare site will recycle rain and surface water to use for flushing toilets, washing clothes watering gardens

University of Cambridge develops UK's largest water recycling system

The University of Cambridge has signed an agreement with Cambridge Water to support the UK's largest water recycling system at the University's North West Cambridge Development site.

Lord Chris Smith (left) will be replaced by Richard Benyon (right) as chairman of the UKWP

Lord Smith replaced by Tory MP as UK Water Partnership chairman

Lord Chris Smith is stepping down as chairman of the newfound UK Water Partnership (UKWP) less than six months after its launch.

Sustainability stats: This week in numbers

As we edge closer to the climate conference in Paris, this week saw a clash of horns over the energy we use. But that hasn't stopped some truly innovative green developments popping up across the globe, from Delhi to... Barnsley.

The new revenue-at-risk function estimates the value of the revenue that a facility could potentially lose due to the impact of water scarcity on operations

New tool enables businesses to monetise water risk

Water technology firm Ecolab has developed a new online tool that allows businesses to work out how water-scarcity will impact their revenue.

Climate change and population growth has led to many countries suffering from water stress

WRI: Extreme water stress in Middle East could stoke civil unrest

Countries from the Middle East will likely be be exposed to 'extreme water stress' by 2040, threatening national security, the World Resources Institute has found.

IHG will work with the Water Footprint Network to develop a water stewardship programme

World Water Week sees hotel giant announce water stewardship programme

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced the appointment of global water-use experts, the Water Footprint Network, to develop a worldwide water stewardship programme for the hotel group.

The letter asks food and beverage companies for increased transparency and disclosure about their exposure to water risk

Global investors urge food firms to address rising water risks

Investors managing more than $2.6trn in assets have sent joint letters to 15 international food and drink companies amid growing concerns over water security and pollution.

Diageo said its water efficiency increased by 10.4%

Diageo saves almost 3 billion litres of water

Diageo has improved its water efficiency by more than 10% in the past year, according to the drinks giant's latest sustainability report.

The course at Chambers Bay does not feature the lush greens characteristic of US golf

'Brown is the new green' at sustainable US Open golf course

The US Open golf championship, which kicked off this week, is being held at a course labelled "the poster child of sustainable golf", but not all players are happy with the new water-reduced playing surface.

The Pope's encyclical was presented at the Vatican earlier today

Pope calls for urgent action on climate change

"The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth," wrote the Pope in a sweeping papal letter which calls for action on phasing out fossil fuels, tackling global water scarcity and adopting a circular economy.

The Aquamark launch was supported by more than 100 blue chip and public sector organisations

New water benchmarking scheme targets 'forgotten utility'

Britain's first national water benchmarking scheme has been launched, allowing businesses to reduce water usage by an average of 30% and regain up to £500m in lost annual revenue.

Resource Efficienct Scotland has so far helped 134 Scottish organisations identify ways to save money by using water more efficiently

Q&A: The importance of water efficiency for businesses

Resource Efficient Scotland recently held a Q&A session with Dr Stuart Ballinger, project director for the Water Technology List, to discuss why and how businesses should reduce their water use.

The International alcohol firm will develop a broader supply chain and adopt new ways of working with new partners

Diageo to slash water use in half

Drinks giant Diageo has vowed to improve its water efficiency by 50%, replenish water in water-stressed areas and return all waste water back to the environment as part of an ambitious new water stewardship strategy.

The problem of water scarcity can only be solved if businesses, governments and NGOs collaborate

Cross-sector collaboration and the global water crisis

Diageo's head of water, environment and agriculture sustainability Michael Alexander explains how and why businesses must collaborate to address the critical issue of water scarcity.

Lord Smith of Finsbury will be the independent chair of the new UK Water Partnership

Lord Smith to lead public-private UK Water Partnership

"There's nothing more important than water," proclaimed the former head of the Environment Agency, Lord Chris Smith, who is chairing a new public-private body to promote resilience, innovation and growth in the UK water sector.

Water costs can be reduced by up to 50% by investing in no- and low- cost water reduction technologies

Top 10 business benefits of reducing water consumption

As Business in the Community (BITC) recently warned, droughts and water scarcity pose a significant risk to the environment, society and the economy. But when it comes to conserving water, small adjustments can have a big impact on businesses...

Increased urbanisation is changing the UK's distribution of water demand and increasing the risk of flooding

Water Taskforce calls on businesses to 'act now' and collaborate

Business in the Community (BITC) has renewed its call for companies to take action on water issues in the UK by improving resilience flooding and water shortages and by collaborating on sustainable water quality management.

Each person consumes between 2,000-5,000 litres of water embedded in their food

Food and drink firms 'must improve efficiency' to protect dwindling water supply

The food and drink industry must curtail the amount of water used in production to avoid two thirds of the world's population living in 'water-scarce' areas by 2050.

Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture is focused on defining, measuring and advancing the sustainability of food, fiber and fuel production

Corporate giants set sustainable agriculture goals

Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture has announced that its member companies - including Unilever, General Mills, Kellogg's, Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble - have committed to drive sustainable agriculture in the US with six new environmental pledges.

Partnerships should be made between communities, central and local governments, businesses and non-governmental organisations to tackle water scarcity

Companies urged to 'unite to combat water shortage'

Global beverage firm SABMiller has called for businesses to invest in partnerships to secure water availability and quality and protect both the environment and long-term profitability.

The growing water crisis has prompted 82% of surveyed companies to set conservation targets this year

Water shortage threatens growth for world's biggest firms

More than two thirds of the world's largest corporations say water scarcity could harm their business, with a quarter expecting it to limit growth.

The Water Explorer Programme has received $4.3m funding from HSBC's Water Programme

HSBC and Global Action Plan teach young people about water scarcity

HSBC and environmental charity Global Action Plan have teamed up to launch a new initiative to encourage young people aged between eight and 14 to tackle worldwide water issues.

Water and energy are interdependent in more ways than not, and an increase or decrease in one will immediately affect the other

Energy and Water communities 'must co-operate to meet global challenges'

The organisers of World Water Week have claimed that there is 'an urgent need' for a closer relationship between the energy and water industries in order to tackle issues of global scarcity and poor quality.

Over 100 million farmers in the developing world are responsible for 90% of the world's cotton production

Cotton supply chain urged to help reduce water footprint

More support is needed for smallholder cotton farmers in the developing world as they grapple with the effects of water scarcity which could put the global cotton industry at serious risk.

Industry expert Dr Peter Gleick says trading water could become a distinct possibility

Experts tout water pricing as possible solution to scarcity pressures

Trading water, either as a local or global commodity, could become a distinct possibility as businesses look to place more value on access to this resource.

ISO 14046 can be used to conduct and report a business's water footprint assessment

ISO publishes standard for measuring water footprint

Businesses across the globe will now be able to measure the environmental impact of water use and pollution with a new ISO standard, published today (31 July).

Demand for water in from the energy sector will outstrip supply by 2040 according to new research

Energy from fossil fuels will lead to water crisis by 2040

Two new reports on the global energy-water nexus have concluded that by 2040 there may not be enough water to meet both the world's drinking water and energy generation demands.

The NHL estimates that the total annual water use of the clubs operating within its league is just over 321 million gallons

US National Hockey League warns water scarcity may affect sport's future

The future of ice hockey is under threat from climate change and water scarcity issues, which may impact on the next generation of players.

London is ranked as the 15th most water-stressed city in the world

London ranked among world's most water-stressed cities

London is one of the most water-stressed cities in the world according to new research, which has mapped 500 large cities to determine how global urbanisation is affecting water supplies.

Paul Kelly was speaking at an event hosted by the Aldersgate Group in Wesminster this week

Water stress and climate change must be 'top priority' for businesses

Any businesses that isn't incorporating climate change adaption or water scarcity issues into its business strategy is taking a 'very great risk' in terms of its sustainability and resilience going forward.

The new 'Prosper' initiative builds on SABMiller's sustainability record, such as a 25% reduction in water use since 2008 - pic:Jon Le-Bon / Shutterstock.com

VIDEO: SABMiller sets ambitious new sustainability targets

The world's second-largest brewer SABMiller, which owns more than 150 brands including Peroni, Miller Lite and Grolsh, has announced today (9 July) a set of new sustainability targets to cut water consumption and CO2 emissions by 2020.

Global natural capital standard for business moves step closer

A valuation framework for natural capital is being developed to enable businesses to gauge their environmental impacts more effectively and build a financial case for sustainability.

The Danube River has seen 80% of its floodplains and wetlands disappear over the past 150 years

Coca-Cola tackles water scarcity with Danube restoration project

Coca-Cola Enterprises has reinforced its global water stewardship efforts in a ground-breaking collaboration with WWF to restore vital wetlands and floodplains along the Danube River.

The two organisations are seeking to address fears that future water shortages could lead growing to local and regional tensions

'It is our duty to act now': WWC and FAO unite to combat water and food security

The World Water Council (WWC) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) have agreed to increase their collaboration amidst growing concerns about global water and food security.

Retailers often have to source from overseas suppliers to ensure they have sufficient quantities of produce. Photo: Rob Crandall / Shutterstock.com

Cross-sectoral cooperation key to managing water risk in retail sector

Retailers must widen their investment portfolio and look to engage with a broad range of stakeholder groups if they wish to secure future water supplies within their supply chains, new research suggests.

Peter Knight is Chairman of The Context Group

Water & Business: How to avoid the looming 'crisis'

In less than 16 years, the UN says that the demand for fresh water will outstrip supply by 40%. Businesses are acutely aware of the impending risks of managing with less water, but many are confused about exactly what to do, and where it should start. Peter Knight provides some clarity.

Joe Franses is director of corporate responsibility and sustainability at Coca-Cola Enterprises

In Conversation with Coca-Cola's Joe Franses

From recycling commitments to revamped water strategies, Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE) is putting sustainability firmly in the spotlight. Edie talks with director of corporate responsibility and sustainability, Joe Franses, to find out more about the group's various green initiatives.

Sustainable water management is a key focus of CCE's climate change adaptation strategy

Coca-Cola's river restoration work may shape sustainable water strategy

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is working to restore two river habitats in the UK which could potentially act as a template model as the company looks to scale up its water stewardship work across the business.

Campbell's has achieved a 20.7% reduction in operational water use in 2013, against a 2008 baseline

Campbell's upgrades manufacturing operations to cut water use by 50%

Campbell Soup Company is re-evaluating its production processes in a bid to halve its operational water use per tonne of food produced by 2020.

The official Adidas 'Brazxuca' World Cup ball was found to contain high levels of NPEs

World Cup 2014: Greenpeace investigation reveals sportswear 'toxic scandal'

Global sportswear brands Adidas and Nike have been rapped by Greenpeace for producing football merchandise containing high levels of hazardous chemicals ahead of the 2012 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

More than 80% of the survey's respondents said water challenges would affect their decision on where to locate future facilities

Rising water threats likely to hit business profits by 2020

Water risks are set to intensify as new research reveals that 60% of major US corporations believe this issue will affect business growth and profitability within the next five years.

Why water issues are now commercially important

Water is essential for life, but many businesses still fail to recognise the commercial importance of this vital resource. Darran Messem explains why businesses must take note.

Business priority weighs more on reducing carbon emissions than water consumption

Will water scarcity ever challenge carbon emissions as a business priority?

When it comes to exposure and coverage, carbon emissions reign supreme. But is it time water security became the central environmental issue? Leigh Stringer investigates

The World Energy Council and World Water Council will work together to build an integrated programme around the water-energy nexus

Global councils join forces to tackle growing water-energy nexus issue

The World Energy Council (WEC) and World Water Council (WWC) have joined forces to address the growing issue of the water-energy nexus.

Nestle is cutting water use at its operations in the EU as water scarcity is affecting one in ten people living in the region

Nestlé commits to 40% water reduction across EU operations

Nestlé has committed to reducing water consumption by 40% across its European production sites by 2020, compared to 2010 levels.

Why water must be on par with energy and carbon issues

The energy intensity of water is rising, which makes understanding the synergies between the two a priority for business and governments. But is enough being done? Leigh Stringer investigates

Managing water and energy separately no longer viable, finds report

Managing water and carbon footprints in isolation poses a significant danger, as increasing demand for water places pressure on energy usage, new research suggests.

The Governments energy generation plans could make water shortages a bigger issue

Water shortages will put UK energy security 'in danger' say researchers

UK policymakers are being called on to give greater consideration to the electricity sector's 'water footprint', as water shortages are likely to impact energy generation in the future.

Supply chain emissions progress stalling under 'confusing' policy landscape

Companies are increasingly recognising climate risk in their supply chains, but investment in emissions reductions programmes is going down, according to research out today.

The five CSR trends to watch in 2014

New materials, genetically modified organisms, climate change adaptation, employee engagement and social entrepreneurs - these are the five trends most likely to keep sustainability professionals awake at night over the coming 12 months.

Water rises to top as 'most urgent' sustainability challenge

Water scarcity, climate change and poverty are now society's most urgent challenges according to hundreds of sustainability experts across the world.

Water is a primary component of concrete, representing approximately 25% of the mixture

Cemex's new policy puts water scarcity higher up the agenda

Global building materials firm Cemex has implemented a corporate water policy to increase water efficiency by managing consumption and utilising sustainable water sources such as rainwater.

International trade strategies for water could spark global conflict

Trade investment strategies driven by big business are in danger of turning water into a commodity, a Friends of the Earth study has warned.

Demand rising for intelligent water solutions within power generation

The power generation industry is demanding smarter solutions around water supply and wastewater strategies, according to new research.

Energy producing giants at risk from increasing water scarcity

Water risks are on the rise for three global energy production hotspots - shale gas in the US, coal production and coal-fired power in China, and crude oil in the Middle East.

Scientists warn 500 million people at risk of future water scarcity

Over 7% of the world's population could be affected by water scarcity in the future as a result of climate change if global warming isn't abated.

Water issues beginning to 'permeate the mainstream'

Water preservation and scarcity is "on the cusp" of being the next big sustainability issue, says Bloomberg's head of sustainability Lee Ballin.

The 2030 Water Resources Group estimates that there will be a 40% gap between supply and demand for freshwater by 2030.

New framework encourages businesses to invest in water scarcity projects

Business leaders are being called on to address global water challenges by investing in projects that tackle scarcity and secure the world's most precious resource.

VIDEO: UNICEF champions recycling human sweat into clean water

A device that generates clean drinking water from recycled human sweat has been created by UNICEF to highlight the pressing issue of global water scarcity.

Global chemicals industry must brace itself for higher water prices

Chemicals companies will be increasingly hit by rising water costs as water scarcity pressures intensify, especially in Asia and the Middle East.

The rising water risk behind mining for metals

Water management is fast emerging as a critical issue within the metals and mining sector, whose high dependence on it is now throwing up a number of operational, financial and reputational challenges. Maxine Perella investigates

Nestlé takes to twitter to defend its 'water as commodity' position

Attaching value to water will not only address future concerns around scarcity of supply, but also guard against food security issues, Nestlé Waters has stressed.

Supply chains must be incentivised to quantify resource risk

The UK's manufacturing industry is at threat unless the Government intervenes to help businesses mitigate against resource risk, the Circular Economy Taskforce has warned.

So, what exactly is holding back the circular economy?

It's challenging, it's ambitious - but the appetite is certainly there to make circularity happen within big business. In practice however, an array of stumbling blocks remain as Maxine Perella finds out

UK food supply at risk due to severe water shortages

Farmers in England are facing increasing challenges to meet the demands of a growing population due to rising water scarcity fuelled by climate change, according to a report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Sally Uren: Businesses must increasingly prepare to be disrupted

The sustainable systems thinker: Interview with Sally Uren

Digital, Social, Disruptive: these are the mega-trends coming over the horizon that will challenge sustainability managers yet gift them with powerful new perspectives, Forum for the Future's new CEO Sally Uren tells Maxine Perella

Water reduction key target for soft drinks sustainability roadmap

The soft drinks industry is being urged to back a new voluntary agreement in a bid to tackle high levels of water usage within its supply chain.

General Electric targets water reuse as buffer against scarcity concerns

Water scarcity will be a key focus for General Electric (GE) in coming years as the company sets out a clear mandate for improving its water reuse strategy.

Gail Klintworth talks up brand-led social change

Unilever calls on its brands to become 'green leaders' for social change

Unilever is drawing up a series of "sustainability ambitions" for each of its brands to help drive social change on a global scale, the company's chief sustainability officer Gail Klintworth has revealed.

SABMiller chief executive Alan Clark is looking to press governments over water scarcity

Don't treat water risk in isolation, warns SABMiller chief

A joined up approach to water, food and energy is critical if big business is to safeguard against future risks in water security, according to SABMiller chief executive Alan Clark.

UNEP report: Firms must adapt to changing environment to secure private sector

The future of the private sector will "increasingly hinge" on the ability of businesses to adapt to the world's rapidly changing environment, according to a new report.

Ban Ki-Moon

UN calls for greater collaborative effort to achieve global water security

The United Nations (UN) has called for stronger scientific alliances to understand and protect natural resources, warning that unless greater efforts are made to reverse current trends the world will run out of freshwater.

EXCLUSIVE: Tackling water scarcity 'critical' to success of the beverage industry

Businesses in the beverage industry have effectively recognised the need to improve water efficiency within their operations but progress must continue to secure the sectors future, says Coca Cola Enterprises' (CCE) Joe Franses.

PepsiCo doubles safe water pledge for developing nations

PepsiCo is scaling up its efforts on global water stewardship as it meets its first commitments in this area two years ahead of target.

Clariant demonstrates massive water savings for textiles industry

Specialty chemicals company Clariant has saved an estimated 700 million litres of water in 2012 with a new textile dyeing process.

Achieving sustainability through financial rigour

Committing to a sustainability programme requires ambition, a clear understanding of how targets will be achieved and, above all, backing from management, employees and partners. But how integral is it to apply financial disciplines to a business's sustainability plan? Leigh Stringer finds out

Interserve to cut water usage by 20% by 2016

Interserve has announced that it aims to reduce its water consumption by 20% in three years following the release of its 2020 sustainability programme, which looks at the stewardship of energy and natural resources.

Water stress set to drive lucrative growth for membrane market

Water scarcity is fuelling demand for advanced water and wastewater treatment technologies and solutions on a global scale, latest research suggests.

Extreme weather in 2012 demonstrates risk to British business

It is vital that businesses in Britain have a secure water supply in the face of increasingly extreme weather, according to the Environment Agency (EA) chairman Lord Smith.

Water standard will accelerate move to low-carbon economy

Water conservation and reduction in water use will not only provide businesses with substantial savings it is also essential to becoming a sustainable, low-carbon economy, says the Carbon Trust.

Paul Bulcke says water scarcity now poses threat to survival

Nestlé chief: water shortages could spark global food crisis by 2030

Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke has warned that water scarcity will be the cause of massive food shortages within the next 15 to 20 years unless decisive action is taken.

Prepare for CSR 'mega-trends' or risk reputational collapse

Companies must not only build greater transparency into their sustainable business models, but develop an explicit social purpose if they are to prosper in the future, new research has revealed.

Global standard to build water efficiency into future business plans

The world's first international award for water reduction aimed at galvanising business action on measuring, managing and reducing water use, has been launched by the Carbon Trust.

Nestlé boss adds waste to list of supply chain risk factors

Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe has identified wasteful agriculture practices as a "major challenge" to tackle within its global supply chain as it looks to ramp up production levels.

Rise in 'quality' meat could reduce agricultural water usage

The farming sector has welcomed a report which links the high consumption of meat to global water scarcity and urges the public to place a greater value on their intake.

'Soft' approach offers water security and flood protection for business

Businesses are in danger of relying too heavily on technological solutions for sustainable water management and need to take a more holistic approach in strategic planning.

Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Branson backs calls for hospitality sector to bottle own water

A new social enterprise has today urged the hospitality and tourism industry to adopt a sustainable business model that collectively addresses the global issue of access to clean water.

Peter Braback-Letmathe: Place more value on water use

Nestlé makes case for water pricing to boost efficiency gains

Nestlé chairman Peter Braback-Letmathe has argued that more value must be put on water use through market pricing mechanisms that could drive greater efficiency measures.

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