1.5 trillion dollar investor alliance pushes Starbucks, GSK, Carlsberg and peers on water policies

Investors seek sign up to CEO Water Mandate project.

Starbucks, GlaxoSmithKline and Carlsberg Group are among companies targeted by a $1.5 trillion investor alliance to push 100 of the world’s leading corporates to disclose their policies on water use and make structural improvements where possible or necessary. In a letter sent to the chief executive officers of the companies, the investors said they believed that companies that manage the risks and opportunities presented by limited global water availability are more likely to be viable long-term investments. The investor alliance, all signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment UNPRI), is asking the 100 companies to join the ‘CEO Water Mandate’ – a public-private initiative created by the UN Global Compact, a set of 10 corporate standards on human rights, working conditions, the environment and anti-corruption. The CEO Water Mandate is designed to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water sustainability programmes by assisting with corporate policy and the sharing of best and emerging practices. Launched in July 2007, it has been endorsed by approximately 40 global companies to date. The 16 investor signatories to the letter include the London-based BP Pension Fund and Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds in the US. Denise Nappier, Conneticut State Treasurer and principal fiduciary of the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, said: “Water can not be treated asmerely a casualty of climate change, but rather its rival in its potential to both pose risks and create opportunities for the companies in which our funds invest”. According to the United Nations, nearly two-thirds of humanity is expected to live in water-stressed regions by 2025 – many in emerging and frontier markets. In many parts of the world, companies in all industries are expected to experience escalating challenges related to water availability and the quality of water. James Gifford, executive director of the PRI, said: “Fresh water is a finite resource, and as water consumption and population increase, so water availability can become a constraint to economic growth. Water sustainability is therefore a real financial issue for long-term investors and we should expect to see many future investor collaborations to ensure companies manage water resources in a sustainable way.”
The initiative is the third time this year the PRI has led a pressure group to support initiatives of the Global Compact. Many PRI signatories use the Compact as a corporate benchmark on responsible issues, In October, more than 50 investors running about $4 trillion (€3.2 trillion) in assets wrote to 9,000 listed companies they invest in urging them to sign up to to sign up to the Compact, after earlier in the year pushing existing Compact signatories to report on their progress in adhering to the ten principles.
Link to list of 100 companies in receipt of CEO Water Mandate letter