New investor-backed corporate water disclosure guidance published

Input from UN PRI, Robeco, Norges Bank

The UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate has released new guidance to help develop a common approach to corporate water disclosure – with input from bodies like the Carbon Disclosure Project, the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and investors such as Robeco and Norges Bank.
Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines: Toward a Common Approach to Reporting Water Issues has been published for comment at the World Water Week event in Stockholm. It seeks disclosure in a “comprehensive yet concise and practical manner”.
The 108-page ‘public exposure draft’ was put together by environmental non-profit organisation the Pacific Institute, with input from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and project partners the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), World Resources Institute (WRI), and Global Reporting Initiative.
Investor groups which contributed to the project include the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), the PRI, Robeco, the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative, Norges Bank Investment Management, Calvert Investments, Ceres and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

A range of blue-chip companies, including Coca-Cola, Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline, Molson Coors, Nestlé, Nike and Siemens, were also involved.It is hoped that companies will use the framework in the coming months and provide feedback. The Water Mandate, which was launched in 2007 and whose endorsers range from AB Electrolux to Xstrata, said it plans to amend the draft in 2013 based on feedback from companies, stakeholders and others and offer a final draft. Then it will be updated within the next three to five years, given the rapid evolution of corporate water management and disclosure practices.

“It is our hope these Guidelines drive convergence with respect to how companies report their water management efforts while helping to minimize reporting burdens,” said Gavin Power, Deputy Director the UN Global Compact and Head of the CEO Water Mandate.
He added disclosure also supports more sustainable and equitable management of water by improving stakeholders’ ability to make comparisons between companies.
The framework builds on three areas: 1) Company water profile – an overview of the relationship with water resources; 2) Defining Report Content – describing the process by which a company determines which water-related content to include in its report; 3) Detailed Disclosure – specific, detailed metrics and qualitative information.