Survey reveals drought, shortages, flooding and rising prices are damaging companies in water-intensive industries
(The Bluetongue brewery in Australia. Companies most at risk are in the food and drink,
tobacco, and metals and mining sectors, says the report. Photograph: SABMiller )
The wide scope of commercial problems posed by growing pressure on global water supplies and changing weather patterns is revealed by a survey of the 302 biggest companies in the most water-intensive sectors, across 25 countries.
The study was commissioned by the increasingly influential Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which conducts an annual study of what companies are doing to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of investors holding US$16trillion (£9.9tr) of assets.
About half the companies responded to the water survey, of whom 39% said they were already experiencing “detrimental impacts". In answer to a separate question, about half said the risks to their businesses were “current or near term" – in the next one to five years – a sample likely to have significant crossover with those already reporting problems.
大約有一半的企業回應了水資源調查，其中39％的人表示他們已經經歷了“不利的影響”。在回答另一項不同的問題，大約一半的人表示“目前或短期內”會危及對他們的企業， – 在未來一到五年 – 樣本與那些已報告的問題可能已顯著改變。
Companies most at risk are in the food and drink, tobacco, and metals and mining sectors, says the first CDP Water Disclosure report. Other concerns listed were fines and litigation for pollution.
Marcus Norton, who headed the report, said companies that replied to the survey were more likely to have taken action to address water issues affecting their business, but he was still “impressed" by the replies: 96% were aware of potential problems, and two-thirds have somebody responsible for water issues at board or executive committee level.
Of the companies which did not reply, not all would be ignoring the problems, but Norton hoped in following years more companies would show they take the issue “seriously".
“I don’t think this is an issue of the price of water increasing even 10-fold, which I think in many cases it will," he added. “For me it’s about building resilience to and avoiding catastrophic damage from water scarcity and physical risks. If you run out of water you can’t operate. We have seen floods in China and Pakistan cause hundreds of billions of dollars of damage."
Companies that ignore water dangers “pose a risk to investments", said Anne Kvam, head of corporate governance of Norges Bank Investment Management, a lead sponsor of the report.
The report, written by London-based consultancy Environmental Resource Management, names six companies showing “best practice" as mining giant Anglo American, consumer group Colgate-Palmolive, auto maker Ford, US utility PG&E, and engineers GE and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. This was not intended to suggest the named corporations were the top six, only that subjectively they were “good examples", said Norton.
該報告是由總部位於倫敦的環境資源管理顧問諮詢公司撰寫的，指名展示“最佳實踐” 的六家公司為礦業巨頭英美資源集團，消費者團體高露潔棕欖公司，汽車製造商福特，美國公用事業 PG＆E公司，通用電氣公司設計和台灣半導體製造。這並不代表將建議公司評為前六名，只是主觀上他們是“很好的例子”，諾頓說。
A major report, Charting Our Water Future, commissioned by Nestlé and brewer SAB Miller among others last year, calculated by 2030 global water demand would outstrip supply by 40%, with shortages in some parts of the world much more severe than others, but also claimed existing management and technology could cut water use and boost supply enough to close the gap.
Source from guardian.co.uk (校閱中)