Time to keep score on waterUnited Kingdom
Much of the impact of climate change will be felt through water: if climate change is the shark, water is its teeth. With rapid changes in the climate and water scarcity becoming a significant issue for health, food and energy security, there has probably never been a better time to highlight that water has a direct impact on the survival of business.
Assuring global water security for both humans and ecosystems will increasingly present opportunities for business to tap into operational efficiencies, or capture market share by offering water-efficient products and services. Having a positive effect on the community by taking such actions reinforces a business's social licence to operate.
At the same time, water related risks are a significant driving force for change. These can take a number of forms, including physical disruptions to operations and supply chains, changing regulatory regimes that increase the price of water or restrict its availability, and reputational damage from misuse, or perceived misuse, of what is a shared resource.
So, as we face the accelerating decline of this precious resource, how can business prepare to operate in a water constrained world?
To do so, it needs information. The first step is to keep score by measuring the use and management of water. The adage "What gets measured gets managed" may be an old one, but that doesn't make it any less true.
By going through this process, companies can become aware of hotspots in their water usage, risks to their direct operations and supply chains, and potential opportunities. They can better understand the impacts of water scarcity, flooding and pollution, of changing regulation and of how a failure to take prompt action could result in lasting reputational damage. The insight gained from the process puts companies in a stronger position to drive efficiencies, manage risks and recognise and seize opportunities.
What's more, as water impacts companies' operations it becomes an increasingly important investment issue. Investors need to know how water related risks threaten the corporations they invest in. The ability of the market to identify organisations' exposure to risk and potential future costs depends on the quality of information and reporting provided. Transparency is vital if a company's stakeholders, be they employees, investors, governments or customers, are to make the best business, investment and policy decisions.
There are of course challenges to be overcome. In measuring carbon it may not matter where in the world a tonne of CO2 is emitted, but the impact of extracting a cubic metre of water varies hugely with geography. The 'source' of water, whether it is rainwater or 'fossil' water in aquifers, also matters, as does water quality both before and after it is used.
Despite this, tapping into the benefits and opportunities from better water management, as well as avoiding the many risks, make it a worthwhile journey. Water scarcity is accelerating at a pace and scale that requires urgent action from business, government and the public: 'business as usual' is no longer a viable path. Keeping score on water is the corporation's vital first step.
El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.
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