Water stewardship is critical in food and beverage processing. A 2021 Barclays analysis finds that the consumer staples sector—which includes food, ingredients, agribusiness, meat, beverages, tobacco and household and personal care—has some of the highest water risk of any industry. Its research suggests that water risk should lead environment, social and governance (ESG) factors among consumer staple investors, as the true cost of water could be three to five times greater than what companies are reporting.
Unfortunately, water has not received enough attention in corporate sustainability or ESG discussions, according to Matt Howard, vice president of water stewardship at The Water Council. Although food and beverage companies such as General Mills and PepsiCo are leaders in corporate water stewardship, many companies in the sector are still not addressing water risk as an operational risk.
Corporate water stewardship is critical because all companies use or impact water resources in some fashion and thus face water risk, including flooding, scarcity and pollution. Rae Mindock, manager for responsible water practices at SCS Global Services, thinks it is particularly vital for food and beverage companies, and not just because water is a key ingredient in their products.
Read more in Pumps & Systems Magazine.