At a UN Summit in September, the largest-ever gathering of world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, a bold new roadmap to tackle climate change and extreme poverty by 2030. The global community now faces the real work of translating vision into action. Fortunately, early actions by some countries already align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and help point the way forward.
Markets & Enterprise
While dealing with sooty clouds from massive forest fires in recent weeks, Indonesia submitted its post-2020 climate action plan, committing to an unconditional target of a 29 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to a business-as-usual scenario.
Using Aqueduct data, participants in a recent workshop in Trifinio, Guatemala developed scenarios for decision-makers to manage water and adapt to climate change.
America’s smartest business leaders are pursuing a strategy unheard of a few short years ago: they are building economic growth while tackling climate change at its source.
Global Forest Watch Commodities (GFW-Commodities) is a business tool to end deforestation in commodity supply chains.
Three major financial institutions and two of the world’s largest food and beverage companies are driving improved water management using data from Aqueduct’s Water Risk Atlas. This list includes: Anheuser-Busch InBev, the leading global brewer; Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company; LGIM, one of Europe’s largest institutional asset managers; one of the world’s largest banks; and one of the world’s largest pension fund managers.
Water risks—such as floods, drought, and increased competition for scarce water resources—are increasingly chipping into corporate bottom lines. The financial sector is taking notice, as companies and investors seek robust and comprehensive data to inform their decision-making processes. Previously, water risk had not been widely incorporated into financial risk assessments or business strategies, primarily because of a lack of awareness of business vulnerability to water risks, poor data, and uncertainty on how to use what information was available.
In January 2013, WRI launched the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, a comprehensive water risk mapping tool that highlights water risk hotspots for a company’s direct operations and supply chains. Using a scientific approach, the tool is transparent, robust, and is translated into a set of easy-to-use water risk indicators and maps. Within six months from launch, the uptake of Aqueduct’s data by investors and companies has steadily increased, as has use by governments, academic, and civil society groups.
Some of the world’s biggest global companies, funds, and investors are driving improved local water management, thanks Aqueduct’s information. Investors like LGIM are increasingly using Aqueduct water risk data to inform investment decisions, and multinational industry leaders like Nestlé and AB InBev are adopting Aqueduct’s Water Risk Atlas as a critical component of their corporate water strategies. The popularity of the Aqueduct tool provides strong evidence that:
- The investment community’s water-related risk awareness is growing;
- Investors can become key drivers for improved corporate water management worldwide; and
- Major multinational companies are incorporating water into business strategies to drive action on the ground and reduce shared water risks in watersheds.
First-of-its-Kind Guide Calls on Companies to Align Corporate Sustainability Initiatives and Climate Policy
WASHINGTON– For the first time ever, companies have a guide to manage and report on their direct and indirect influences on climate policy. The UN Global Compact, in cooperation with seven leading international organizations, today released guidelines to help companies engage in climate policy in a transparent and accountable way that is consistent with their sustainability commitments.
A new interactive map from WRI’s Aqueduct project reveals that more than 25 percent of the world’s agriculture is grown in areas of high water stress. This figure doubles when looking at irrigated cropland, which produces 40 percent of global food supply.
This analysis highlights the tension between water availability and agricultural production. Finding a balance between these two critical resources will be essential—especially as the global population expands.
Record-setting levels of smog this week shut down Harbin, a city of 11 million people in northeast China. Officials blamed increased coal consumption during the first days of winter heating, underscoring the urgency of the China State Council’s recently announced initiative to address persistent smog in major cities.
But while the Air Pollution Control Action Plan has ambitious goals—cutting air particulates and coal consumption—it may create unintended problems for the country’s water supply.