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Investors Focus on “Liquidity” – companies urged to embrace water sustainability

Summary

A US$1.5 trillion alliance of investors, all signatories to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, is asking 100 of the world’s biggest companies to join an initiative that will improve their policies and practices around use of water. The 16 signatories to the letter include leading European and North American institutional investors and asset managers such as Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, Calvert, Robeco, and F&C Management Ltd.

The targeted companies include global giants such as Starbucks Coffee Company, GlaxoSmithKline and Carlsberg Group. In a letter sent to the chief executive officers of the companies today, the investors state their belief that companies that manage the risks and opportunities presented by limited global water availability are more likely to be viable long-term investments.

The targeted companies are being asked to sign up to the ‘CEO Water Mandate’ – a unique public-private initiative created by the UN Global Compact and designed to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water sustainability policies and practices.

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. Population growth, urbanisation, and climate change are combining to place significant pressure on water supplies for communities and industries. According to the UN, nearly two-thirds of humanity is expected to live in water-stressed regions by 2025 – many in emerging and frontier markets.