“Water the new carbon” as CDP’s Water Disclosure Project releases first results

$16trn investor-backed initiative quizzes companies on water usage

The Carbon Disclosure Project’s new water initiative has released its first results – with a total of 175 companies reporting.

The CDP, which is backed by 137 institutional investors representing $16trn (€11.7bn) of assets, sent out its inaugural water questionnaire to 302 of the world’s 500 largest companies in the FTSE Global Equity Index Series.

Of the target companies, 150 responded to the questionnaire and 25 responded voluntarily; 122 have made their responses publicly available. The responses are available here
“The strong response rate in this inaugural year is indicative of the high level of importance being placed on water by global corporations,” the CDP said.
Norges Bank Investment Management, a partner in the project, said it was “very pleased” with the outcome. “The strong response rate suggests that companies recognise water is a critical issue that needs to be dealt with promptly and adequately,” said Anne Kvam, NBIM’s Global Head of Ownership Strategies. She said it indicates that companies understand the importance ofdisclosing and reporting on their water management.
“So is water the new carbon? In the sense that water presents an equally pressing challenge to the long term sustainability of business, yes it is,” said CDP Executive Chairman Paul Dickinson.
The report shows how water has climbed up the corporate agenda: 67% of respondents said responsibility for water-related issues is at Board or Executive Committee level.
But response rates varied widely between sectors and geographies. All firms in the chemicals sector responded, against just 29% in the Oil & Gas and Construction, Infrastructure & Real Estate sectors.
The report – compiled by Environmental Resources Management – does not rank or score companies either on the quality of their disclosures or on their performance. It provides examples of best practice from household name corporate.
The report says it is encouraging that the “energy-water nexus” has been recognised by companies. Seventy two percent of respondents have identified the links and tradeoffs in managing energy and water.