Water: a business risk

Water is fundamental to all businesses – to heat, cool, clean or as an ingredient. Having too little or too much, or water that’s too dirty or too expensive can have an impact on your bottom line. It’s a challenge for business that needs active management.

Water is fundamental to business. Business needs water to heat, cool, clean and as an ingredient too. But get it wrong, the consequences can be devastating and costly to the bottom line and to reputations.

Water needs to be managed well. More than oil or talent, water is perhaps the most problematic of resources. Enough water of the right quality needs to be in the right place at the right time. Water scarcity and water stress issues eg. drought, flood, and inconsistent supply as well as pollution, impacts on business as usual and adds cost (whether it’s directly felt in operations or it’s further along in the value chain). It also needs to be managed well not only at the point the business wants to use it, but also as it discharges it back into the environment.

The challenge is only going to increase. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) projects that, under business as usual, water demand will increase by 55% globally by 2050. The increase will mainly come from manufacturing (+400%), electricity (+140%) and domestic use (+130%). Add in competition from agriculture to feed growing populations and a potential 40% supply gap by 2030 seems very real.

So where do you start to strengthen your resilience to water-related challenges and risks?

  • Identify and understand how water-related risks will impact your operations and your growth strategies
  • Take action to reduce and better manage your water use as water enters and leaves your operations
  • Collaborate with the right partners for sustainable resilience to water issues right across your business
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PwC's Global Sustainability leader, Malcolm Preston, discusses why water is a risk for every business. Too much or too little, too dirty or too expensive - it can have an impact on the bottom line. He shares why collaboration across the water basin is so important. | Duration: 4.42

Water is fundamental to all businesses – to heat, cool, clean or as an ingredient. Having too little or too much, or water that’s too dirty or too expensive can have an impact on your bottom line. Yet, water is the most problematic of resources – think about the reliability and quality of the supply; the impact of drought and flooding; and the collaboration needed to share effectively with others. It’s a challenge for business that needs active management.

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Lauren Kelley Koopman
Director, Sustainable Business Services
Tel: 001 646 696 0374
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Subramanian Sriram
Global Water Network Coordinator
Tel: +91  9884017070
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Jennifer Möller-Gulland
Global Water Network Coordinator
Tel: +91 (0) 9971164469
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Malcolm Preston
Partner, Global Sustainability Leader
Tel: +44 (0)20 7213 2502
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Louise Scott
Director, Global Sustainability
Tel: +44 (0)20 7804 5068
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