Nature-based solutions are moving corporate water risk management beyond business as usual
More and more businesses are exposed to water risks that could be fundamentally disruptive if left unchecked – this we know. Yet exactly how businesses currently approach and respond to these water risks, within and beyond their own operations, is less known.
South Pole and CDP's latest white paper sheds light on this issue by providing groundbreaking quantitative evidence on how businesses are currently responding to water-related risks. To understand how they are managing water-related business risks, South Pole analysed the facility-level response strategies of 49 companies from three sectors (food, beverage, and metals & mining) based on their reported their risk responses through CDP over the last three years (2015, 2016 and 2017).
Key findings include:
- Companies engage beyond-the-fence (BTF) - beyond their own sites - in more than 50% of their risk responses, steadily rising to 56% over the last three years
- Nature-based solutions are becoming preferred approach among companies for addressing water-related risks beyond their own sites
- Nature-based solutions offer sustainable mitigation of and resilience to (climate-change induced) water risks, as well as social, operational, financial and reputational gains - e.g. enhancing companies' social license to operate.
- A water risk management strategy that focuses on BTF activities tend to be more cost-effective: Results showed that BTF activities were on average four times cheaper than actions that solely focused site-specific solutions ('inside-the-fence' or ITF), and twice as cheap as a combined ITF+BTF approach.
- There is no 'one-size-fits-all' when it comes to responding to water risk, and companies often choose a combination of ITF and BTF measures.
Read the full white paper here.