Corporate water disclosure—the act of reporting to stakeholders information related to the current state of a company’s water management, the implications of that state for the business and its stakeholders, and how the company develops and implements strategic responses—has emerged as a key component of corporate water management practice.
These Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines seek to advance a common approach to corporate water disclosure that addresses the complexity and local nature of water resources. In order to achieve this overarching goal, the Guidelines:
- Identify common corporate water disclosure metrics that support harmonization and comparability over time and across companies
- Provide guidance on how companies can assess the water-related topics that are the most relevant to them and their stakeholders (as well as how to report this assessment process)
- Describe how companies can best report activities that are difficult to depict quantitatively, such as policy advocacy or engagement with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), governments, suppliers, and communities
- Align corporate water management with disclosure so as to enable companies to understand which information is most appropriate to report and how to generate water disclosure content
How to Use the Guidelines
Structure and Applicability
Corporate water management objectives and activities vary greatly depending on industry sector and geographic location. This dynamic leads to many possible disclosure approaches and metrics that are more relevant to certain companies than others. In the spirit of advancing harmonized reporting practices, all the suggested metrics and information provided in the Guidelines are designed to be applicable to a broad range of corporate water users, regardless of industry sector and region. However, many companies will likely choose to augment their reports with metrics and information particularly relevant to their specific industry or geography.
Corporate water disclosure varies significantly depending on the relevance of water to the company and its stakeholders and the maturity of a company’s water management practices. For this reason, some companies may not deem it necessary or helpful to report the full range of information suggested in these Guidelines. Others may be able to report only a limited amount of water-related information due to nascent water management practices. These Guidelines are designed to be applicable to this wide spectrum of prospective disclosers. They are divided into four sections.
Section 2: Aligning Disclosure with Corporate Water Management Practices discusses the processes that underpin a company’s water disclosure.
Section 3: Company Water Profile describes how a company can offer a snapshot of its water management that a broad spectrum of audiences will easily understand.
Section 4: Defining What to Report provides guidance on how companies can determine what water-related topics are relevant to the company and its stakeholders and what information is material to report, as well as how companies can report this process itself.
Section 5: Detailed Disclosure provides in-depth guidance on the specific types of information that can be included in corporate water disclosures and discusses how companies can structure this information in a coherent manner.
The Corporate Water Disclosure Framework
The full range of water-related information that companies report is summarized below in the Corporate Water Disclosure Framework . The Disclosure Framework is divided into three broad pillars of information which track directly with the last three sections of these Guidelines (i.e., Company Water Profile, Defining What to Report, and Detailed Disclosure). The Disclosure Framework serves as a way to categorize the various types of content featured in comprehensive corporate water disclosure and to understand the structure of these Guidelines.