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Companies ‘slow to act on growing water risk’
Exposure to water-related risks is becoming an increasing concern for European investors, yet companies are proving slow in responding. Of the 288 European companies approached last year by the investor-led transparency initiative CDP for water-related information, only 121 (42%) responded. Although this was up from 38% the previous year, disclosure rates “clearly need to change”, CDP states in a new report (pdf). Performance also needs to improve. Over one-third (36%) of responding companies report exposure to water risks in operations and supply chain, yet fewer than half have thoroughly assessed these risks. The most significant risks relate to the availability of sufficient quantity and quality of water at a local level (cited by 55%), new regulations or tariff changes (51%), and local conflicts over water resources (44%).
Among reporting companies, most attention is paid to the amount of water they withdraw (cited by 87%) and discharge (83%). Of these companies, however, fewer than four in 10 actually verify water withdrawal data by source for their at-risk facilities. The percentage falls even further for at-risk facility discharges. On a more positive note, three-quarters report board-level oversight of water issues, compared...