Managing Water Risks

Many companies operate to a high level of Corporate Social Responsibility. However the ability to assess water in terms of sustainable water supplies; the risk to business continuity or how it should be included in any longer term business investment process, is often hampered by lack of pertinent data or knowledge about water beyond immediate operations.

  • To promote sustainable water management, this means:

    Understanding risk for each manufacturing plant through the context of operational use of water and subsequent impact within its local environs;

    Identifying potential competition of water supply and environmental impact from other local usages of water on its operations, now and in the future;

    Having some quantification in terms of a water footprint approach.

  • To promote sustainable water management, this means:

    Understanding how the risk is distributed within a region or aquifer;

    Engagement with local authorities and other stakeholders to identify any potential competition for water;

    Examine the volumes, impacts and risks of water use within a region as a whole;

    Sharing experiences between regulators, businesses and individual facilities.

  • To promote sustainable water management, this means:

    Understand the impact of national, European and other country regulations / plans;

    Engagement with local communities to identify any potential competition for water and possible reputational risk within a supply chain;

    Examine the volumes, impacts and risks of water use along the entire supply chain;

    Share experiences between a business and its individual facilities.

  • Setting future targets should consider:

    Predicting to what extent climate change adaptation will affect risk through water price, tightening regulations, physical risks, security of supply or competitiveness?

    Understanding the potential long-term risk on a business units capacity/utilization, related to water scarcity – both as a resource, but also as an interaction with developments in local community, regulations, costing, etc.

    Being able to set goals and measure reduction in water footprints, where it really matters

    Encouraging the promotion of good water management

    Identifying where and to what extent there will need to be changes in business outlook / strategy to adapt to climate change

    Identifying and quantifying the relationship between water and energy usage and how this may affect the carbon footprint (we consume vast amounts of water to generate energy and we consume vast amounts of energy to extract, process and deliver clean water. There is also the challenge of decreasing water resources and increasing pollution, both requiring increasing energy)

  • The benefits from such an assessment are several fold. It will:

    Address the many pertinent questions related to business risk and opportunities, from which targets and priorities may be identified, redefined or confirmed;

    It will identify potential cost saving measurers related to the water usage life cycle;

    It will allow companies to understand their operations in both the local, regional and global context (as applicable) of business risk through water scarcity;

    It will enable companies to look at longer term investment decisions with an insight to how climate change may influence its business through to product development and influence of sales in different parts of the world;

    Enable business to put a value on water;

    At an operational level help quantify water usage from which business decisions and water efficiency targets can be made on the basis of good quality data.

    It will enable water scarcity issues to be integrated into a company’s Enterprise Risk Management or sustainability strategy

    Achieve a better sustainability performance through the integration of water with energy and carbon management;