Ceres urges capital markets to value water as a financial risk

Water availability is under threat globally, as the report from the National Audit Office makes clear, and the sustainability non-profit organisation Ceres has responded by launching a major effort to catalyse influential capital market leaders to address the financial risks of the water crisis, and call on companies to take action.

Ceres has launched a new task force made up of some of the largest pension funds and banks to drive corporate action on water-related financial risks, including the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the California State Teachers Retirement System, Sjunde AP-fonden (AP7), and Sweden’s Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB). 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.

“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.”

Along with members of the Valuing Water Finance Task Force, and other members of the investment and corporate and broader stakeholder community, Ceres will develop a set of clear action steps for companies in key sectors to take in order to improve water stewardship.

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