Prepare to Report

 

Before a company can effectively report water-related information to their stakeholders, it has to understand:

  • How disclosure can support their corporate water management efforts and enhance its business
  • How they can generate the water-related information they report
  • What water management practices they are currently implementing and how those relate to disclosure
  • What water-related topics and challenges are relevant to its stakeholders

Below we offer insight into these questions.

The business case for corporate water disclosure

For an in-depth discussion of water related business risks and the business case for sustainable corporate water management, see the official CEO Water Mandate website at:
ceowatermandate.org/business-case/

Companies are increasingly motivated to be proactive and comprehensive in managing their water risks and negative impacts, seeing a number of advantages to doing so, including:

  1. Ensuring the company’s legal and social license to operate in a specific location
  2. Preventing or reacting to operational crises resulting from the inadequate availability, supply, or quality of water or water-dependent inputs in a specific location
  3. Gaining an advantage over competitors because of stakeholder perceptions that the company uses natural resources responsibly and has a minimal negative impact on people and ecosystems
  4. Assuring investors and markets that business operations will continue to be profitable by securing water availability for operations and reducing water-related costs
  5. Upholding corporate values based on sustainable and equitable development by contributing to the well-being of the basins, ecosystems, and communities in which the company operates

Disclosure supports these goals in a variety of ways. Many companies have found that the disclosure process itself improves their internal understanding of water-related challenges and contributes to the development of effective response strategies. For those companies that have taken significant steps to manage their water-related risks and negative impacts, disclosure provides an opportunity to demonstrate progress and good practice to both internal and external stakeholders. This in turn helps companies strengthen their brand value and reputation, bolsters talent recruitment, and fosters increased investor confidence. Corporate water disclosure also offers a vehicle to establish a dialogue between companies and theirstakeholders.

Showcasing progress and articulating future targets and commitments via disclosure (while allowing stakeholders to provide feedback on these aspects) strengthens corporate accountability and builds credibility with employees, local communities, civil society, and governments.Disclosure can also help companies hold other stakeholders accountable on water issues. For example, if a company can show that it has significantly reduced its water demand, it has a stronger position to call on governments to better manage water throughout a basin—instead of letting the government assume that the company’s plant or supplier is the problem. Developing trust and accountability with these stakeholders reinforces a company’s license to operate and serves as a starting point for partnerships and collective action in support of shared risks and sustainable water management.

Defining What to Report

Aligning Disclosure with Corporate Water Management Practices



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