H&M tests new water risk tool

Clothing retailer H&M is among the first companies to take advantage of WWF's new global online tool, which aims to help businesses identify and mitigate water risk.

The Water Risk Filter, which was released yesterday (March 28), aims to tackle water scarcity and its environmental impact by making users more aware of water risks in their supply chains and investment portfolios.

Working in partnership with German development finance institution DEG, the tool guides users through a short survey that uses industry and geographic information from 235 countries to evaluate potential water risk.

Interactive maps and case studies are offered, as well as specific information which analyses all relevant indicators of water risk. The business is then provided with a mitigation toolbox to help it address areas of concern.

H&M environmental sustainability manager Mikael Blomme said that the results of the filter will be used to help develop its water strategy, which it is collaborating with WWF on.

He said: “It shows us where and how we can have the biggest impact, and helps improve our understanding of how sustainable our supply chain is, given the often difficult local water situations.”

WWF international director general Jim Leape said it is important businesses understand and factor in how the impact of population growth and climate change will affect their water supplies in the future.

He said: “Water scarcity is a concern for conservationists, communities and companies alike. But simply competing for every last drop will do no good to anyone. If water users become aware of their water risks – and work together to find solutions – we can ensure that people, nature and businesses have the water they need.”

DEG chairman Bruno Wenn commented that “water availability is the most underestimated critical issue for the companies we are financing, but we believe that financial institutions can help make the companies more sustainable in their performance.”

Carys Matthews

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