World’s largest companies not tackling water scarcity issue – KPMG

19 Oct 2012

Water droplet image via Wikipedia

The majority of the world’s largest companies do not have a long-term water strategy, that’s according to a new report from KPMG that has analysed how businesses are reacting to the growing problem of water scarcity.

Published yesterday, KPMG’s Sustainable Insight report analysed the corporate responsibility reports of the largest companies across 34 countries, including the world’s top 250 companies.

KPMG sourced the data for the report from the results of its Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2011.

According to KPMG, 60pc of the world’s largest companies do not have a long-term water strategy to tackle the global water scarcity challenge, despite discussing the issue in their reports.

Of those that produce a corporate responsibility report, 95pc of Indian companies, 69pc of Spanish companies and 66pc of UK companies have included specific plans to reduce water usage. Meanwhile, 24pc of Chinese companies and 27pc of Japan-based companies have such plans in place.

Vincent Neate, head of climate change and sustainability at KPMG in the UK, said companies will likely experience increasing public or investor pressure to confront the issue.

“Many companies have not yet fully grasped the importance of strategic planning or communication in relation to long-term water supply mitigation and use. Investors are becoming more aware of the risks and opportunities that water scarcity represents within their portfolios and are increasingly looking for companies to build responses into their longer-term strategies,” said Neate.

The report also found that while three-quarters of the world’s largest 250 companies address water issues in their corporate responsibility reports, only a handful report on the water footprint of any part of their supply chain. KPMG said that none of these companies has reported on the water footprint of their entire supply chain.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic