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December 09, 2008
Report Details Risks and Opportunities Facing Water-Dependent Industries
    by Robert Kropp

Eurosif water report finds that increasing water scarcity results in critical issues for many businesses and offers potential solutions to alleviate crisis.

In a recent report that highlights critical environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues facing water-dependent industries, the European Social Investment Forum (Eurosif) found both risks and opportunities for companies involved in water supply, water consumption, handling of water during industrial production, and water technologies.

Among the critical water issues facing industries, the Eurosif water report noted water scarcity and unequal distribution of water supply, including increasing global water scarcity and the heightened risk of conflict over water resources in the 263 river basins shared by two or more states; the billions of people worldwide without sustainable access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation infrastructures; water pollution; and climate change.

The report found that industries whose activities lead to a greater exposure to water-related risks include agriculture, mining, food and beverage, energy, forestry, and water treatment and supply. These industries face a number of factors affecting performance, including competition for scarce resources, disruption of production processes, and increased government regulation of water usage.

Eurosif also found that important business opportunities arise from the growing need for sustainable water use. To improve water efficiency, water and wastewater treatment and monitoring technologies should benefit from further development and the falling prices that are making investment in reverse osmosis membranes for purification increasingly attractive. Opportunities in water supply and sanitation include the expectation that the drinking water segment of water business in Europe will attract investments of $175 billion over the next decade. Water-efficient technologies and products will also find growing markets.

Eurosif is a European non-profit entity dedicated to addressing sustainability through the financial markets. Its member affiliates include pension funds, financial service providers, academic institutes, research associations and NGOs. Through its membership, Eurosif represents assets totaling over $750 billion.


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