CDP Water Disclosure, a new annual report from the Carbon Disclosure Project, today (November 12) launches reveals business using large amounts of water fear rising prices, droughts and other issues around water use.

According to the report, compiled from a questionnaire sent to 302 of the world’s largest companies, water is rapidly becoming a major ‘corporate issue’.

The CDP received a 50% response rate with 122 of these responding publicly and a further 25 companies responding on a purely voluntary basis.

Sectors with the greatest fears over water use include food, beverage, tobacco, metal mining.

But, the areas with the lowest levels of exposure are those working with chemicals, technology or in the communications field.

Water security is already high on the corporate agenda with 67% reporting responsibility for water-related issues at the board or executive committee level.

The report findings show that water is already impacting business operations with 96% of responding companies able to identify whether or not they are exposed to water risk.

And more than half of those reporting risks classifying them as current or near-term or within the next one to five years.

And, 39% of companies were already experiencing ‘detrimental impacts’ relating to water including disruption to operations from drought or flooding, declining water quality necessitating costly on-site pre-treatment, and increases in water prices, as well as fines and litigation relating to pollution incidents.

Executive chairman at the Carbon Disclosure Project, Paul Dickinson, said: “This data provides valuable insight into the strategies deployed by many of the largest companies in the world in relation to water and is a first step in helping drive investment towards sustainable water use.

“The changing availability of water resource is presenting opportunities to business through demand for new infrastructure, products and services and now is the time to seize these opportunities, address water challenges and build resilience – not once the well has run dry.”

The information was requested on behalf of 137 institutional investors representing US$16 trillion in assets to increase transparency and accountability on water scarcity and other water related issues, and to inform the global market place on investment risks and commercial opportunities.

To read the full report click here.

Luke Walsh

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