As climate change, population growth, and pollution increasingly threaten water availability and water quality around the globe, the sustainability nonprofit organization Ceres announced a major new effort to catalyze influential capital market leaders to address the financial risks of the water crisis, and call on companies to take action.
As part of the effort, Ceres launched a new task force made up of some of the largest and most influential pension funds and banks to drive corporate action on water-related financial risks. The Valuing Water Finance Task Force aims to raise awareness within the capital markets of the widespread negative impacts of corporate practices on water supplies, and the industries and practices linked to the most severe and systemic of these impacts.
California State Controller Betty T. Yee, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and New York State Common Retirement Fund, California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), Sweden’s Sjunde AP-fonden (AP7),Sweden’s Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Government Employees Pension Fund of South Africa (GEPF) are among its founding members.
The Valuing Water Finance Task Force aims to raise awareness within the capital markets of the widespread negative impacts of corporate practices on water supplies
“It is time investors demand more transparent reporting and better planning to safeguard our long-term investments,” said California State Controller Betty T. Yee, and a member of the Ceres’ Board of Directors. “Water availability and usage must be treated as critical components of the supply chain and manufacturing process at companies around the world.”
“Major investors like New York state’s pension fund have a unique opportunity to persuade corporate America that improved water stewardship and safe water supplies benefit everyone,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund and a member of the Ceres’ Board of Directors. “It is part of our investment strategy to urge our portfolio companies to take action to address risks, such as water scarcity and pollution, that threaten the long-term value of our investments. The Valuing Water Finance Task Force will help articulate the steps needed to improve corporate water stewardship.”
Ceres has partnered with the Government of the Netherlands, which leads the global Valuing Water Initiative. Launched in January 2019, the initiative aims to demonstrate the implementation of the Valuing Water Principles, which were developed under the United Nations and World Bank High-Level Panel on Water to bring systemic change in the way water is valued in decision-making.
“We need to speak the language of the finance world and demonstrate how addressing water risks can build resilient investment and finance portfolios to get them to join our efforts on making better decisions impacting water,” said Ambika Jindal, Lead, Valuing Water Initiative, Government of the Netherlands. “With the Valuing Water Finance Task Force and the scientific community, we will make the financial sector aware of the materiality of drying, drowning, stranded and polluted assets which are being invested in and funded by financial institutions because often water is not taken into account in financial decision-making.”