Context

 

Water is a uniquely complicated resource for companies to manage and report because its value, availability, and quality vary significantly depending on location. A critical component of the water disclosure process is assessing and reporting how location-specific factors relate to the business.

Here we offer insight and resources for how a company can assess water-related basin conditions and report the degree to which it operates in water-stressed or high-risk areas.

Content Scope Format
Basic
  • Profile: High-level assessment of basins across a portfolio
Companywide Tabular and narrative; quantitative
Advanced(includes basic reporting)
  • Detailed, location-specific assessment of basins where water challenges are pronounced
Location-specific Tabular; qualitative
  • High-level assessment of basins in which key value chain actors are located
Value chain Narrative; qualitative

BASIC

High-level assessment of basins across a portfolio

Basic reporters assess at a high level the extent to which their operations are located in water-stressed or high-risk regions. This information serves as a key component for many of the companywide metrics described in the ensuing Performance section. Such an assessment also helps companies identify and report water-related hot spots where sustainable water management practices may be prioritized.

Free web-based tools that some companies use to better understand the basins in which they operate, include:

When reporting on this topic, companies should indicate the specific tool or methodology they used.

ADVANCED

Detailed, location-specific assessment of basins where water challenges are pronounced

Assessing various contextual factors in specific hot spots enables companies to formulate a nuanced depiction of the risks and impacts in those areas and ultimately to determine the most appropriate and effective response strategies. Reporting on this topic involves two key elements: the drivers and the relative severity of key water-related challenges.

Drivers
Advanced disclosers describe the drivers contributing to water-related challenges in that basin, potentially including

  • Water scarcity and water stress
  • Poor ambient water quality
  • Regulatory uncertainty
  • Insufficient infrastructure
  • Inadequate access to water and WASH services
  • Drought
  • Flooding
  • Climate change
  • Changing demographics
  • Limited management capacity
  • Ecosystem vulnerability
  • Total basin availability
  • Supply variability
  • Cultural and religious values
  • Media awareness

Further guidance and datasets that can help companies better understand each of the above conditions in the basis in which they operate, can be found at: Datasets and Tools for Context Reporting

Severity of challenges
In addition, companies describe the severity of the identified drivers. This type of assessment can be conducted using the datasets and tools described under Basic Practice. Additional tools that involve a higher degree of sophistication are also available, including:

High-level assessment of basins in which key value chain actors are located

Advanced reporters share contextual data related to key value chain actors, most commonly suppliers. Companies can describe a high-level characterization of the extent to which basins in which key value chain actors are located are water stressed or otherwise at high risk by using one of the online tools listed above or a company’s own proprietary analysis.

Additional resources

“FORD: SUSTAINABILITY 2012/13”
Ford used the Global Water Tool developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to evaluate which of our operations are projected to be in water-scarce regions by 2025. According to the analysis, approximately 26 percent of our operations are projected to be in such regions (defined as areas of extreme scarcity or scarcity).

Our facilities in Mexico are located in water-stressed regions; our manufacturing facility in Cuautitlan, Mexico, for example, is already subject to water-withdrawal limitations. Several of our facilities in our Asia Pacific and Africa region are in areas that are currently water-stressed, or are expected to be in the near future.”

“HESS CORPORATION: 2013 CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY REPORT”
“Our Seminole Gas Processing (SGP) plant in West Texas is our biggest single water user, accounting for 59 percent of our usage in 2013. The SGP plant uses water mainly for process cooling and sources it from a Hess owned and operated groundwater well field that withdraws from the Ogallala Aquifer.

SGP is located within a region where baseline water stress is categorized as “high risk” based on evaluations we have conducted using the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct water risk mapping tool. Water demand in the region is driven primarily by agricultural uses.

Additional Information is available at the Texas Water Development Board website
(www.twdb.texas.gov).”

BASIC

CONTEXT High-level discussion of hot spots across portfolio (narrative)
Description of assessment method(s) (narrative)

ADVANCED

CONTEXT Detailed discussion of hot spots across portfolio (narrative)
Locations where key value chain actors are located (narrative)
Description of assessment method(s) (narrative)