New Report Concludes Water Will Impact Business Growth

A new report "Bridging Concern with Action: Are U.S. Companies Prepared for Looming Water Challenges?" by VOX Global and Pacific Institute concludes 60% of companies surveyed believe water is poised to affect business growth and profitability within five years. In addition, more than 80% say water will affect their decisions on where to locate facilities.

The acknowledgement among major U.S. corporations that water is becoming a major business issue is a significant finding. There is growing recognition that in addition to being a considerable societal problem, water also creates critical challenges for businesses specifically. Insufficient or contaminated water supply, or lack of infrastructure to reliably deliver that supply, can mean companies may not be able to maintain the volume and quality of their production.

In an attempt to gain insight on corporate perceptions of risks associated with water issues and plans to address these challenges, the Pacific Institute and VOC Global surveyed over 50 companies, the majority Fortune 500 and publicly traded, representing virtually every industry sector. In addition to an online survey, in-depth interviews were conducted with senior officials who have direct responsibility for water issues from companies including: AT&T, Cummins, Inc., The Hershey Company, MillerCoors, and Union Pacific Railroad. While survey respondents indicated that water challenges are worsening and will affect their business more significantly in years to come, most did not indicate any plans to expand their water risk mitigation measures in the future.

Key findings from survey respondents since 2008 include the following:

Respondents who …

2008

2013

Next 5 Years

% Change, 2008-2018

Face water challenges

N/A

79%

84%

5%

Discuss water-related issues at board level

28%

78%

89%

61%

Consider water when deciding where to locate

37%

63%

86%

49%

Believe water impacts growth

17%

17%

57%

40%

Believe water impacts profitability

14%

14%

57%

43%

The report is available at http://pacinst.org/.

    By E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block

Read more at Corporate Environmental Lawyer Blog by Jenner & Block LLP.

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