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Business and Water: opportunities and challenges

Water iconWater is an economically strategic resource and a core element of natural capital underpinning many business activities. Water risks cut across all industry sectors including energy and extractives, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, pharmaceuticals, food and apparel. In the recent World Economic Forum Global Risks 2014 report, Chief Executives said the regarded water-related issues as one of the top five global risks to business.

Water risks are reinforced by concerns over failure of climate change mitigation / adaptation and by food crises, which are both intricately linked to water. Water shortages can limit production, disrupt supply chains, lead to conflict with other water users and harm corporate reputations. Safeguarding water and ensuring its availability in sufficient quantity and quality is a subject of vital interest to business. 

One-pager: Business and Water: opportunities and challenges


Business and water: the relationships 

Business agricultural activities impact upon water… 

Business activities are vulnerable as they rely upon water… 

External forces are putting pressure on water resources… 

What are the water-related challenges for business? 

There is a wide variety of competing users 

Water quality and quantity needs are intensifying 

The impacts of climate change affect water resources throughout operations 

What are the water-related opportunities for business? 


Mondi: balancing productivity and water provision for downstream users 

Tall grass

Ingredion: diverting waste water for increased income 

Anglian water

Anglian Water: a multi-sector approach to catchment management 

What do business sustainability leaders say? 

On water management 

On water scarcity 

On water risks 

Related links

Andy Brown’s blog on Anglian Water’s collaborative approach to safeguarding water supplies

Anglian Water’s work with us on exploring water financing model

Anglian Water’s work with us on integrating water management

Anglian Water’s work with us that looks into the value of water stewardship




Dr Gemma Cranston
Senior Programme Manager