Sustainability think-tank Ceres has announced a new task force to drive corporate action on water-related financial risks.
In cooperation with leading US pension funds and international banks, the “Valuing Water Finance Task Force” aims to “raise awareness in the capital markets of the huge negative impact of corporate practices on water supplies, and the industries and practices linked to the most severe and systemic of these impacts", the organisation said.
The Task Force is part the Valuing Water Initiative, led by the Government of the Netherlands, which was launched in January 2019. The initiative has been established as the implementation program for the Valuing Water Principles that were developed under the United Nations and the World Bank High-Level Panel on Water.
The intention is to put a framework around extent of the impacts, industries involved, and specific corporate practices that drain and pollute limited water resources. Research will supplement financial evidence of threats from unsustainable corporate practices, from which Ceres, the Task Force and other members of the investment and corporate stakeholder group look to build the case for corporate action.
“Capital markets have long treated water as infinite and of little value, leading to massive waste and misuse of the resource, imperiling ecosystems, human health, and long-term economic sustainability,” said Kirsten James, Director of Water at Ceres. “The Valuing Water Finance Task Force sends a clear signal from investors to companies to water-proof their businesses in order to mitigate risk and ensure long-term profitability in our water-stressed world".