Investors Press 100 Companies to Join CEO Water Mandate

by | Dec 17, 2008

un-ceo-water-mandate1.jpgA group of 16 European and North American institutional investors and asset managers from Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, Calvert, Robeco, and F&C Management Ltd. have asked the chief executives of 100 of the world’s biggest companies to join the CEO Water Mandate.

The mandate is part of the United Nations Global Compact, a strategic policy initiative with 5,000 member companies working to achieve the eight UN Millenium Development Goals. One goal, for instance, is to halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

The alliance of investors, which combined manage about $1.5 trillion in assets, sent a letter to the executives, among which are Starbucks, GlaxoSmithKline and Carlsberg Group, writes

In the letter, they emphasized the importance of adopting a comprehensive approach to water management and reminded companies of the value of doing so in order to protect and foster their long-term investments.

“Most businesses, whether large or small, use water to varying degrees in the production of goods and services,” said James Gifford, Executive Director of Principles for Responsible Investment.

The issue of water scarcity in the corporate sector “poses real and material risks” to businesses, he added, but also presents opportunities for new investment. Investors are encouraging companies to use the Mandate to help develop, implement, and disclose their water sustainability policies.

In October, Seven global groups have joined forces to set up the Water Footprint Network, with the aim of working toward a common approach to water footprint measurement, accounting, and reporting.

In August, Borealis and Uponor announced that they would enter into a joint initiative to pilot the concept of water footprint in the manufacturing of a plastic application. Last year, Borealis was on the advisory board for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Global Water Tool.

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