As water-related challenges such as droughts, floods, and pollution impact businesses across the world, effective corporate water disclosure is increasingly expected. Investors want to understand water risks and opportunities, governments and non-profits track how companies impact their local water resources, and many employees and customers prefer to support companies that manage water responsibly.
In response to these growing expectations, the United Nations CEO Water Mandate launched a public exposure draft of its new Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines in August 2012. The CEO Water Mandate is an alliance of 86 corporations – including PwC – committed to promoting water sustainability. PwC was selected by the CEO Water Mandate Secretariat, to lead the development of the guidelines.
The guidelines help business address fundamental questions such as:
For companies just beginning to disclose on water, the guidelines can help them gather and analyze data and incorporate the results into their sustainability or financial reports. For businesses with more progressive water management systems, the guidelines provide advanced metrics and guidance on reporting activities such as engagement with governments, suppliers and communities.
The guidelines reduce the reporting burden on companies by streamlining existing sustainability reporting protocols into a single water-specific guidance document. They are entirely voluntary but will likely be reflected in other water reporting initiatives such as future versions of the Carbon Disclosure Project's water questionnaire.