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CDP launches a global water disclosure project

Press release 19 November 2009

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) today announced the launch of CDP Water Disclosure, a new programme that will help institutional investors better understand the business risks and opportunities associated with water scarcity and other water-related

Powerful financial institutions globally, including NBIM, Schroders, APG Asset Management and Dexia Asset Management are supporting the new programme because water already impacts companies’ operations and will become an increasingly important investment issue.

 CDP Water Disclosure is today releasing a new report entitled ‘The case for water disclosure’, written by Irbaris who have supported CDP in the development of this initiative. It details the rationale for the new programme and findings from data collected in a small pilot in 2008. 

Paul Dickinson, Chief Executive Officer of CDP said: “Much of the impact of climate change will be felt through changing patterns of water availability, with shrinking glaciers and changing patterns of precipitation increasing the likelihood of drought and flood. If climate change is the shark, then water is its teeth and it is an issue on which businesses need far greater levels of awareness and understanding. CDP Water Disclosure will raise this awareness and drive companies to take action to mitigate risks and seize opportunities.”

CDP Water Disclosure will provide a system for businesses to report their use of water and their exposure to changing patterns of water availability. Companies face risks such as lack of water impacting agricultural and manufacturing processes and the threat of regulation increasing prices and limiting the volume of water available to them. It is a vital tool for investors and businesses to be able to evaluate companies’ ability to operate successfully in a water-constrained world.

The United Nations (UN) forecasts that by 2030 almost half of the world population will live in areas facing water stress or water scarcity. Less than 1% of the world’s water is easily accessible fresh water and the effects of climate change, increasing population, urbanisation, per capita demand, and pollution damage to supplies will put even greater pressure on these limited resources.

CDP, an independent not-for-profit organisation, has gathered primary corporate climate change information from thousands of businesses around the world so that it can be incorporated into business and policy decision making. With the launch of CDP Water Disclosure it is using the same established system in order to tackle the increasingly vital issue of water scarcity.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), lead sponsor of CDP Water Disclosure, said: “As water becomes an increasingly constrained resource, it also becomes an investment issue. It is vital that institutional investors have access to high quality information on how water-related risks threaten corporations, both directly and within their supply chains, in order to make better informed decisions and direct the flow of capital away from risks and towards solutions. CDP Water Disclosure will be essential to providing investors with this information.”

In 2010 CDP Water Disclosure will send a questionnaire on behalf of institutional investors to approximately 300 of the world’s largest corporations in water intensive sectors including chemicals, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG’s), food and beverage, mining, paper and forest products, pharmaceuticals, power generation and semiconductor manufacturing. The questionnaire will ask companies to measure and disclose information on water usage, the risks and opportunities in their own operations and their supply chains as well as water management and improvement plans. The questionnaire results will be made available to endorsing investors and summarised in an annual report, the first of which will be produced in the last quarter of 2010.

Marc Fox, Vice President of GS SUSTAIN Research at Goldman, Sachs & Co, comments: “CDP Water Disclosure is an important new initiative as water issues are increasingly impacting companies’ ability to uphold competitive advantage in many global industries. GS SUSTAIN Research currently incorporates water efficiency within its methodology and views increased disclosure of performance to be a critical step in assessing the effectiveness of companies' responses to the water challenges they face."

Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the UK Government’s Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), adds: “I welcome the Carbon Disclosure Project’s initiative to raise awareness of the importance of water and the opportunities there are to improve water management. I am sure that as with carbon disclosure this will help us to understand water usage and as a consequence value this precious resource.”

Sigbjørn Johnsen, Norwegian Minister of Finance, representing the Ministry of Finance as ultimate owner of the Norwegian Pension Fund – Global, concludes: "I strongly support the CDP Water Disclosure as a timely and important addition to the Carbon Disclosure Project. As a large institutional investor we need to take on a broad and long-term view with regard to future risks and opportunities, including amongst others water scarcity. I'm particularly happy that the Fund's manager, Norges Bank through their investment management department NBIM, is playing a lead role in sponsoring the CDP Water Disclosure.

Note to Editors

About CDP Water Disclosure

CDP Water Disclosure is part of CDP, an independent not-for-profit organisation holding the largest database of corporate climate change information in the world. Some 2,500 organisations across the world’s largest economies now measure and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and climate change strategies through CDP in order to make performance improvements. This data is gathered on behalf of institutional investors, purchasing organisations and government bodies and made available for integration into business and policy decision making. CDP Water Disclosure will provide critical data in relation to water from the world’s largest corporations to inform the global market place on investment risk and commercial opportunity. This data will provide valuable insight into the strategies deployed by many of the largest companies in the world in relation to water and will be used to help drive investment towards sustainable water use. 

About NBIM

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) is the investment management unit of the Norwegian central bank (Norges Bank). NBIM manages the Norwegian Government Pension Fund’s global investments, as well as the majority of Norges Bank's foreign exchange reserves and the Government Petroleum Insurance Fund. NBIM holds assets in excess of NOK 2500 billion and is invested in more than 8000 companies worldwide. NBIM seeks to make active use of its ownership rights to safeguard the financial wealth of future generations by promoting good corporate governance and high ethical, social and environmental standards at investee companies. As part of this commitment, NBIM in 2009 defined water management as a key focus area.

For more information please contact:

CDP Lisa Lee T: +44 (0) 20 7415 7196 / +44 (0) 7554 430 962 E: [email protected]

NBIM Anne Kvam, Global Head of Ownership Strategies T: +47 97121798