BLOOMINGTON, IND. — A recently published survey by the Pacific Institute and VOX Global finds that 60% of U.S. companies believe water related issues would negatively impact their businesses in the next five years. Most, however, did not indicate that they have any plans in place to deal with future water risks.
The study, titled Bridging Concern With Action: Are U.S. Companies Prepared for Looming Water Challenges?, also finds that 80% of the companies surveyed believe water concerns will affect where they locate future facilities.
These findings are up significantly from just five years ago when only 20% of the companies surveyed believed water related issues had the potential of negatively impacting their operations.
When it comes to businesses, the availability of water, having effective infrastructure to deliver water and even the quality of water “can be a bottom-line issue,” said Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group and CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools. “This is one reason the latest version of LEED, v4, puts much more emphasis on water efficiency than previous versions of LEED.”
Ashkin uses the term “water efficiency,” which, unlike water conservation, refers to long-term ways to reduce water consumption.
“The irony in this survey is that while the majority of these companies do expect water issues to impact their business, few have any contingency plans in place to deal with it,” said Ashkin. “This is likely because Americans are accustomed to being ‘water rich’.”
The survey was conducted online and involved 50 companies, mainly Fortune 500 companies, publicly traded and representing virtually every industry sector. For greater insight, researchers also personally interviewed senior officials at such companies as AT&T, MillerCoors and Union Pacific Railroad.
“It’s perfect timing that the new LEED v4 stresses water efficiency,” added Ashkin. “As this survey points out, this is an issue whose time has come.”