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CDP US Water Report 2013

From water management to water stewardship


In this report, CDP and Deloitte Consulting LLP (Deloitte) present results of the analysis based on the water disclosures of 148 S&P 500 companies that participated this year. Together, these companies account for approximately 104 million megaliters of water withdrawals per year, enough to provide 50 liters of water per day to approximately 5.7 billion people for an entire year.1

Although US respondents demonstrate improvements in nearly all management and governance indicators, challenges remain as they continue to trail their Global 500 counterparts. However, over 80% of respondents now have water management plans in place, and companies report nearly 800 actions, targets and goals to reduce their impact on water resources, and thus their exposure to water-related risks.

When the increasing risks and impacts that US companies reported to CDP are looked at in the context of the critical state of water globally, it is clear that there needs to be a shift from water management to water stewardship. Companies must move away from looking at water through a "carbon lens" — away from applying the same approach that they have taken for their carbon reduction strategies to water management — and towards a more holistic, proactive and long-term approach to conservation, contextual local assessments, strategy and external engagement. By doing so, US companies will be able to maintain continuous business operations, become more trusted partners and enable growth.

Learn more about the key findings:

  • Water-related risks are increasingly being reported and impacts continue to affect business continuity.
  • The majority of respondents appear to lack strategic responses to water-related risks.
  • Respondents must develop a proactive approach to water stewardship with a focus on external engagement to potentially avoid water-related risks.

1 50 liters per person per day based on the human right to water and sanitation as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): "Between 50 and 100 liters of water per person per day are needed to ensure the most basic needs..." (UN-Water Decade Programme on Advocacy and Communication, "The Human Right to Water."

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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