Associate Director of Water Security, CDP North America
Water security is essential to tackling climate change and protecting the bottom line, and CDP’s leadership helps companies respond and adapt.
The world is running out of water. Less than 1.2 percent of the world’s water is available for human use, and a 56 percent shortfall of the available global water supply is expected by 2030, according to the UN.
“Businesses and their operations are exposed to disruptions and other risks from increased water-related disasters,” says Christina Copeland, Associate Director of Water Security at CDP North America. And CDP’s Global Water Report 2020 found that the financial impacts of ignoring water risks are five times higher than addressing them.
Harnessing corporate climate change data and advocating for corporate sustainability
As an international leader in corporate sustainability reporting, CDP runs the largest and only integrated global environmental disclosure system. Each year, CDP supports thousands of companies, cities, states, and regions to measure and manage their risks and opportunities on climate change, water security, and deforestation. Its annual disclosure process scores companies and cities based on their journey from awareness to environmental leadership.
“Twenty years ago, CDP envisioned a world with a thriving economy that works for people and the planet in the long term,” says Copeland. “Over the past two decades, we’ve led a global movement that has transformed business as usual, spurred innovation and action on climate change, and forged the connection between environmental sustainability and global prosperity.”
The cost of taking action on water security is five times less than the cost of business as usual
Facing risks and embracing opportunities to create a better world
Today’s top businesses recognize that in order to remain competitive, they must act collaboratively. CDP disclosure helps influential decision-makers reduce risk, capitalize on opportunities, and drive action toward a more sustainable world.
Its Global Water Report 2020 highlights the incredible impact of inaction. “$301 billion (USD) of business value is at risk unless companies improve and innovate around water use,” says Copeland.
Beyond these risks, there are also opportunities when investing in water security, estimated at $711 billion (USD). “Companies need to transform their business models for a water-secure world,” says Copeland. This could mean investing in innovative solutions, developing new products, and harnessing value from wastewater. Many businesses are already taking bold action to enable water security, from Unilever to PVH.
It’s time to take action on
Canadian companies still have a long way to go. “Of the 106 companies to make our Water A List in 2020, none were Canadian,” says Copeland. “There’s a serious need for more measurement and management on water quality from Canadian businesses.”
Copeland also notes that setting and making progress against pollution-related targets is vital to ensuring clean water for all. “We must consider water and climate change holistically. The current usage, storage, and distribution of water and the lack of wastewater treatment contribute 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions,” she says.
Now is the time to take action on water-related solutions. It’s essential for climate action and it makes business sense.