Saturday, March 22, 2014

Water Risk Tool: The Convergence of Business and Conservation


This free, easy to use online tool allows users to map production facilities, supply chains and commodities. The new updated version of the website includes data on more than 120 agricultural commodities – including cotton, palm oil and corn – making it the most sophisticated tool for tracking water risk exposure. For the first time, users of the tool - like major corporations - will be able to assess water risk for specific agricultural commodities. This is a major advancement that offers a powerful and more accurate measure of true exposure. The filter has already assessed 50,000 facilities and now includes information on more than 130 commodities and 43,000 additional watersheds.

Water crises ranked third among 10 global risks of highest concern in 2014, according to the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risks Perception Survey. With water risk on the agenda of business and investors as never before, WWF unveils its updated Water Risk Filter.

“What we’re seeing with water is a real convergence of the business agenda and the conservation agenda,” says Jochem Verberne, Head of Corporate Relations at WWF International. “Companies and investors are beginning to understand that their futures depend on a natural resource that is shared among many users. That creates business risk, and it creates incentive to be part of the solution. The Water Risk Filter can help.”

The Water Risk Filter generates a score based on the physical, regulatory and reputational risk related to water in basins around the world. It also includes an extensive risk mitigation toolbox, allowing the user to reference relevant case studies demonstrating actions to improve water management.

By simply inputting a facility location or a commodity and where it’s grown, the user will receive information identifying risk hot spots. Once those locations have been identified, the user can review possible responses in the filter’s mitigation toolbox.

Close to 50,000 individual facilities have been assessed by the Water Risk Filter since its original release. Over 1,500 different organizations have used the tool, including global fashion retailer H&M, which utilized the filter when creating a new water strategy for its entire value chain.

“The Water Risk Filter helped us see all the places where water touches our business, and create strategies to address raw material risks, support supplier factories and improve efficiency in our own stores and offices,” says Felix Ockborn, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator for water at H&M. “The tool helped us see that working beyond our direct operations to promote sustainable water management is in the best interest of our business.”

First released by WWF in 2012, the Water Risk Filter was developed in collaboration with the German development finance institution DEG.

Click here to access the Water Risk tool.

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