The Global Assessment of Private Sector Impacts on Water

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Global Institute for Water Security
Valuing Water Initiative

Industry – from food production to mining, apparel manufacturing to high-tech – is collectively the single largest user and influencer of freshwater resources globally. Therefore, it has much to lose from critical water risks as population pressures and climate risks grow. How industry responds to intensifying water scarcity and water quality risks globally will be critical to its long-term future and society at large.

Against this backdrop, Ceres, in partnership with the Valuing Water Finance Initiative, commissioned the Global Institute of Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan for a first-of-its-kind comprehensive scientific review and analysis of industry impacts on freshwater resources around the world. This report analyzes the global role and impacts that industries are having on water systems, including their impact on water use, pollution, water flow alterations, and broader hydrologic system disruption. It also examines the longterm exposure that different industry sectors are facing from escalating water risks and the actions that companies can take to mitigate those risks.

To download the full report, please visit the Ceres website here.

Table of Contents


Executive Summary

1/ How Industry Affects and is Impacted by Freshwater Resources

How Industry Affects Freshwater Resources

How Freshwater Resources Affect Industry

Scope, Goals, and Methodology

The Role of Investors - Understanding Water Risk as Financial Risk

2/ Characterization of Global Impacts of Industry Sectors on Water

Industrial Impacts on Freshwater:
Assessment Criteria

Industrial Sectors:
Value Chain Analysis of Practices, Externalities, and Water Impacts Globally

1. Consumer Staples Sector
Food Products

2. Consumer Discretionary Sector
Textiles, Apparel, and Luxury Goods

3. Energy Sector
Oil and Gas

4. Health Care Sector

5. Materials Sector
Metals and Mining
Paper and Food Products

6. Information Technology Sector
High-Tech and Electronics
Semiconductor and Circuit Board

7. Utilities
Renewable Energy

3/ Critical and Emerging Impacts and Threats to the Global Water Systems

Critical Threats
1. Eutrophication
2. Groundwater Depletion
3. Diversion and Transfer of Water
4. Metals Contamination
5. Plastic Pollution

Climate Change - A Threat Multiplier

Emerging Threats
2. Pharmaceuticals
3. Social Conflicts

4/ Strategies to Mitigate Impact on Global Freshwater Resources



Appendix A: Methodology:
Data Collection and Processing

Appendix B: Methodology:
Key Sector and Industry Identification

Appendix C: Methodology:
Information Extraction – DIPSR

Appendix D: Methodology:
Industrial Impacts on Freshwater Scoring Criteria

Appendix E: Industry Sectors:
Value Chain Analysis of Practices, Externalities and Water Impacts Globally (continued)
1. Consumable Staples Sector: Household Products, Personal Products
2. Consumer Discretionary Sector: Automobiles and Components, Hotels, Restaurants, and Leisure
3. Energy Sector: Consumable Fuels
4. Industrials sector: Construction and Building, Electroplating
5. Materials Sector: Construction Materials
6. Utilities Sector: Electric Utilities