The challenges of climate change, aligned with fears over increased water scarcity and continued unsustainable economic growth have led to increasing pressures being placed on businesses to devise and implement sustainability actions, not only focusing on their own operations but also increasingly to regulate and control the activities of their suppliers. However, water has often been overshadowed by the focus on carbon emissions and remains relatively under-developed. Macro-level statistics relating to water often focus on productivity measures without taking into account the economic and social impacts of the resource use. This research explores how water can be integrated into corporate reporting, specifically with regards to the actions of supply chain actors in driving a sustainable approach towards the use and management of water resources. Indicators and measures which explore how water sustainability can be measured are discussed, followed by an overview of the activities in water sustainability reporting from 50 companies listed on the FTSE 100. Reporting disclosures were matched against their reporting which reveals activities relating supplier screening with focus on water issues (where demands are explicitly placed on supply chain partners) and supplier development (involving active collaboration with suppliers to promote sustainability through activities). This analysis reveals that consumer facing industries (most notably retail, brewing and tobacco industries) are the ones which have disclosed the biggest steps towards demonstrating management of sustainability issues, likely driven by the desire to demonstrate wider shared benefits across multiple organisations. These findings have direct implications for governmental policy and business strategy. Future research should address the lack of formalised reporting concerning water resource use within corporate supply chains. This can involve developing and applying datasets as well as identifying and responding to institutional pressures for normalising water management reporting.
UNU-FLORES in collaboration with the Faculty of Environmental Sciences of TU Dresden is excited to announce the Nexus Seminar Series. The joint seminar series, which launched in 2015, features lectures by senior scholars that highlight all dimensions of research on the Nexus Approach, ranging from hands-on implementation strategies to theoretical debates. The Nexus Seminars serve not only as a platform for scientific exchange and cooperation between UNU-FLORES and TU Dresden but also a medium for the partner institutions to discuss their research with a broader audience.
Taking place once a month, each seminar is open to the public and held alternatingly at UNU-FLORES and TU Dresden.
Please find all past Nexus Seminars here.