Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Institutional investors call on big firms to give more thought to water

January 2009

A $1500 billion (£1001bn) alliance of investors, all signatories to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, is asking 100 of the world’s biggest companies to join an initiative to improve their use of water.

The 16 signatories to an open letter include leading European and North American institutional investors and asset managers such as Calvert, Robeco, and F&C Management.

The targeted companies include Starbucks, GlaxoSmithKline and Carlsberg. In a letter sent to the chief executive officers of the companies last month, the investors state their belief that companies managing the risks and opportunities presented by limited global water availability are more likely to be viable long-term investments. One investor, Wilco van Heteren, senior engagement specialist at the Dutch asset manager Robeco, said the move would send an ‘important signal’ to the companies concerned that shareholders believe water-related issues to be ‘increasingly part of mainstream investment considerations’.

He added: ‘Water sustainability is particularly vital for those companies in water-intensive sectors such as oil and gas, forestry and paper, and food and beverages.’

The companies are being asked to sign up to the CEO Water Mandate, a public-private initiative created by the UN Global Compact designed to help businesses develop, implement and disclose water sustainability policies and practices.

United Nations | Global | Water

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