With water at a premium in many regions of the world, businesses in the food industry are becoming more aware of their usage and management of the resource, according to a Ceres report. This is important for sustainability, as agriculture alone uses more than 70% of the world’s freshwater resources.
Companies were scored on governance and strategy, direct operations, manufacturing supply chain and agricultural supply chain. Ceres found that, overall, scores have improved by an average of 10% since the last report in 2015, with the most advancement seen in the packaged food and meat industries.
Illustrating the growing focus on water, more than 90 food sector companies note water risks in their earnings calls with investors and about 85% list water as a material risk in their financial filings. Companies improved their integration into business strategy, water accounting, risk assessment and sustainable sourcing programs, but must do more work on governance, wastewater management, collaboration to protect watersheds and board oversight, Ceres found.