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Corporate Water Use in the Spotlight

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BALLSTON SPA, N.Y., June 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — In an over-crowded, carbon-constrained world, everything must be used more wisely-and water is at the top of the list. Corporations are getting the message.

“It’s encouraging to see so many market leaders who ‘get’ the need for sustainability and for using resources frugally and wisely,” says Bruce Piasecki, president and founder of AHC Group and author of the bestseller Doing More with Less: The New Way to Wealth

The Saratoga Springs Water Risk Management Workshop will build on the first one, held in January 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. There, participants identified several megatrends including:

When material water issues are measured and disclosed appropriately, stakeholders can determine how well a company is measuring and managing water as a resource allocation.
Many influential voices in the broader financial community are being introduced to corporate water metrics, where companies can be benchmarked on metrics such as water intensity/sales, water intensity/energy, water intensity/employee, water intensity/EBITDA. These and other metrics help resolve capital allocation questions about investing in efficiency versus innovation.
The cost of energy is becoming a frequent surrogate for the cost of water given the stress nexus between water to grow food and provide drink to a burgeoning population versus water for energy-intensive industries that provide necessities such as oil, gas, utilities, and mining. In seeking appropriate budgets for water investments, corporate sustainability leaders need to think about what reduces costs or drives revenues for their company and how that relates to water.

AHC Group’s second Water Risk Management Workshop is shaped to respond to concerns raised at the January workshop. Among the foremost are: (1) the competing water uses and the stress nexus between population growth versus agriculture versus industry uses; and (2) the growing understanding that water issues need to be managed regionally because they involve unique issues that will need to be balanced on a case-by-case basis.

The workshop will delve into the issue of U.S. water rights and water policy and how they are likely to evolve, reflecting the movement toward regional solutions. The focus will be on the United States as a global “region.”

Ken Strassner, former vice president of energy, environment, and sustainability at Kimberly-Clark and senior associate at AHC Group, cites the reason for the workshops as “rising concern about water supplies and the quality of water available to support manufacturing operations. An increasingly wide range of investors have begun to track this issue, not only from the buy side but also the sell side, and especially in the social responsibility investment community. By assembling major water users, major water tool providers, and key investment experts, AHC is offering our corporate affiliates and our clients a special, strategic view of these important trends.”

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