Companies Need to Develop Water Strategies, Groups Say


On Sept. 19, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and the Pacific Institute released a new report that seeks to explain the drivers behind water trends, their implications for business and how to prepare for developing water issues.

"It is clear that water trends pose a threat to business," said Emma Stewart, Ph.D., BSR director of environmental strategy. "In the next two to five years, companies will need to adapt to availability, quality and access concerns. Proactive corporate action that dramatically overhauls how companies use and invest in water supplies will be crucial for mitigating risks, gaining regulatory and community goodwill, and improving reputation."

A global crisis is emerging as freshwater resources become scarcer or polluted and businesses increasingly grapple with water constraints in various sourcing, production and retail sites around the world. According to the United Nations, if present consumption patterns continue, two-thirds of the world's population will live in water-stressed conditions by the year 2025. More than 1 billion people around the world lack reliable access to clean drinking water, and 2.5 billion people lack adequate sanitation.

"Today's corporations need a water strategy that goes well beyond tracking inputs and outputs," said Jason Morrison, program director for the Pacific Institute. "'At the Crest of a Wave' can help corporations design and implement a comprehensive approach to managing water risks and opportunities." The report, "At the Crest of a Wave: A Proactive Approach to Corporate Water Strategy," can be accessed in PDF format at http://www.bsr.org/csrresources/environment/resourcesdocs/BSR_Water-Trends.pdf.

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