Most Large Companies ‘Lack Long-Term Water Strategies’

by | Oct 19, 2012

The majority – 60 percent – of the world’s 250 largest companies lack a long-term water strategy, according to a KPMG analysis of corporate responsibility reports.

This may mean companies do not see the need to detail water strategies in their CR reports, according to Sustainable Insight – Business Responses to Water Scarcity. Or, at worst, it means companies do not realize the potential impact of water scarcity on their business.

The report, which analyzes reports across 34 countries, finds that while 76 percent of the world’s largest companies address water issues in their CR reporting, only a third report on their full water footprint. One in five report on part of their water footprint.

And only about one in 10 report that they are making changes to their business based on water availability or that they are mitigating the effects of water scarcity.

KPMG says water footprinting is more common in some sectors, with 100 percent of mining companies and 98 percent of pharmaceutical companies reporting on water use.

However, only three of the largest 250 companies report on the water footprint of any part of their supply chain. None report the water footprint of the entire supply chain.

The results also vary by country. Of those that produce a CR report, 95 percent of Indian companies, 69 percent of Spanish companies and 66 percent of UK companies include specific plans to reduce water usage. This contrasts with just 24 percent of Chinese companies and 27 percent of Japanese companies.

Forty-four percent of the global 250 set specific plans to reduce water use in CR reporting, and 27 percent say they are treating waste or contaminated water, according to KPMG.

A June report from Ceres found Anheuser-Busch InBev, Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, KB Home, Alcoa and Intel are among the 27 percent of companies assessed that made the connection between climate change and water risk in 2011, up from 10 percent in 2009.

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