British businesses still not taking water efficiency seriously

Water efficiency remains low on the corporate agenda despite recent cases of extreme weather, according to environmental and planning consultancy Temple Group head of sustainability Carol Somper.

Speaking at a webinar organised by edie, examining why creating value from sustainability should be on every boardroom agenda, Somper warned that businesses faced serious issues surrounding water security.

A recent study, commissioned by Temple Group in association with edie and Sustainable Business magazine revealed that water ranked fifth in the list of priorities for businesses after turnover, energy, waste and CO2.

Somper was asked whether she believed the recent bouts of extreme weather such as flooding and droughts would see water rise up the corporate agenda even further.

“No I think we’ve got a bit of a problem in this country because we are literally surrounded by water, we’ve got it coming at us from all angles at the moment because of the weather,” she said.

“It isn’t so much that we’ve got so much water, we don’t have to worry about it. If you’re importing products that use a lot of water in their manufacture and they are coming from areas where water scarcity is starting to be a problem, then there could be a lot of issues for you around water,” she added.

For Somper water security is not just a problem for water intensive businesses.

She said: “We are also seeing that businesses that don’t use water in any great way are quite affected by it. For example, every major airport has a water problem because they have got to make sure that they are not polluting adjacent areas because of the way they need to reuse water onsite.”

“If you are using water in fair quantities and its coming from a highly treated potable source, that’s very costly and it’s very carbon intensive. How much water can you reuse and recycle onsite?” she asked.

Conor McGlone

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