Ceres' Water Risk Initiative will raise awareness of the impacts of climate change on freshwater resources and the risks this poses for key industries -- including water utilities. The initiative will develop research and tools to empower water managers, corporate leaders, and investors to undertake strategies that support sustainable investment in water-intensive sectors and the development of resilient water infrastructure.
Specific components of the initiative include:
- Corporate assets at risk - water dependent industries. In cooperation with Bloomberg and UBS, Ceres will publish a first-of-its-kind review of the 100 largest publicly-traded companies in eight water-intensive sectors that benchmarks how these companies are disclosing, measuring and managing water-related risks.Target release: 2010Q1.
- Fixed income at risk - long-term muni bonds. Ceres, in partnership with Water Asset Management, will publish a first-ever study that assesses the climate risk exposure of the long-term muni bond market in the U.S., with a specific focus on water and electric utilities. The report will assess the extent to which bond issuers and rating agencies incorporate climate risk and other environmental considerations into their bond ratings and will suggest further action for investors to take to manage climate risk in their long-term bond holdings. Target release: 2010Q3.
- Corporate & investor outreach. The findings of both studies will be widely disseminated to institutional investors, asset managers, rating agencies, and water managers through investor fora, webinars and the business and financial media. The recommendations from the reports will be presented to the over 80 investor members of Ceres' Investor Network on Climate Risk, a network of institutional investors and asset managers collectively representing trillion in assets.
Many regions of North America and around the world are rapidly moving into an era of 'peak water,' characterized by dwindling supplies of freshwater, coupled with unprecedented and burgeoning demand. This growing water stress is driven by a range of demand-side factors including urbanization, industrialization, and rapid population growth. Climate change is proving a key supply-side factor: melting snow pack and arid conditions are reducing overall water resources in areas of high population density; dwindling reservoirs and groundwater reserves in turn mean higher concentrations of pollutants and deteriorating water quality. Despite this trend, very few large companies - many of which depend on abundant, inexpensive, and high-quality water as an input to their direct operations and supply chains - are preparing for the significant risks posed by growing water scarcity.
Ceres sees an important opportunity to catalyze major corporations, including water utilities, to begin addressing water scarcity by building on our successful strategy of spurring investors and the financial industry to address climate risks. Moving businesses to manage water differently will respond to the acute societal need to adapt to a steadily decreasing supply of freshwater and mitigate possible massive environmental and economic consequences of the water crisis.
Ceres operates at the nexus of the business, investment and environmental worlds. Our mission is to move businesses, capital, and markets to advance lasting prosperity by valuing the health of the planet and its people. Ceres has been a global leader in advancing sustainability since its founding in 1989. In the early 1990s, Ceres used investor pressure to persuade companies to make public commitments to the first independent corporate code of environmental conduct - the Ceres Principles. In the latter part of the 1990s, Ceres helped create the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the de facto international standard for companies to disclose their environmental and social impacts. Developed in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, the GRI is now an independent organization based in Amsterdam with over 2000 companies worldwide using its reporting guidelines.
In 2003, Ceres launched an innovative strategy to move the business and investor communities on climate change by educating powerful institutional investors about how climate change could significantly affect the value of their investments. Since mounting the first Institutional Investor Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations in November 2003, Ceres has built its Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) into a consortium of more than 80 investors representing trillion in assets, that examines the financial impacts of climate change and presses companies to improve their disclosure and strategic management of the issue.
SEEKING: financial assistance, implementing partners, media and marketing opportunities.
OFFERING: best practice information.