By Matt Howard, Vice President of Water Stewardship
There’s no doubt water is a vital piece of the Environmental, Social and Governance equation. Clean, abundant freshwater is just as necessary to business — and life — as clean air. Yet many companies suffer from carbon “tunnel vision,” with most of the action so far on the “E” part of ESG focused on carbon reduction. This isn’t particularly surprising, as water risks are more complicated and harder to define and measure than carbon emissions.
But companies ignore water at their peril. Problems with water quantity and quality disrupt operations and supply chains, cripple profit margins and hurt brand value. CDP reports the cost of business inaction in the face of water risk is five times greater than the cost of acting to address those risks. Companies that hesitate to take their first steps in water stewardship miss opportunities to address shared challenges and enhance brand value. Don’t wait for the next water crisis to start addressing water-related risks, challenges and opportunities in your business operations or as an investor in water-intensive businesses.