Business leaders are among stakeholders gathering this week for World Water Week, the leading annual conference on global water issues, in Stockholm, Sweden. As with the UN Water Conference in March, this week’s convening will include many discussions around the private sector’s role in addressing the world’s greatest water challenges, particularly for companies with large water footprints.
Industries are major contributors to the water crisis — driving critical threats to global freshwater systems including groundwater depletion, metal contamination, plastic pollution, water diversion and transfer, and eutrophication. Examining the financial risks of these water impacts reveals their material significance. In fact, Ceres analyses found the cost of addressing harmful water impacts could top nearly $1.8 billion annually for some large publicly traded packaged meat and apparel companies, and lead to a change in company valuation of up to -47 percent.
Some companies are taking action, including Diageo, Levi Strauss and Mars. Learn more in this column for Sustainable Brands by Shama Perveen, director of water for Ceres.