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Corporate action on water use reaches record levels

Ten UK companies have been named among a fast-growing group of ‘A List’ global corporations leading by example in water management.

Ten UK companies have been named among a fast-growing group of ‘A List’ global corporations leading by example in water management.

The list of top performers have been revealed by CDP, a non-profit global environmental disclosure platform, which analysed water data from 742 of the world’s largest companies.

The data revealed that the companies collectively used 5.6 quadrillion litres of water in 2017 and nearly two thirds of them have a good grasp of measuring and monitoring their water use. More than half have also set water-related targets and two fifths require their suppliers to report on water management.

A Listers

Of the group, CDP identified 73 ‘A Listers’ who demonstrated the best water management practices - a three-fold increase since 2016. 

The list includes ten UK headquartered companies: food and drink firms Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola European Partners and Diageo Plc; pharmaceutical manufacturers AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline; packaging and paper group Mondi Plc; consumer products giant Unilever; energy firm Centrica; fashion brand Burberry Group; and capital goods manufacturer CNH Industrial.

Best practice

Diageo, which produces a number of well-known alcoholic beverage brands, was singled out by CDP as one of a growing number of companies to apply its own internal price on water to account for environmental impacts that are often missing from the retail price. 

Setting an internal price supports Diego’s efforts to improve water use efficiency at its distilleries and breweries. Last month the company revealed that is has improved water efficiency by 40 per cent since 2007 through techniques such as water recovery technology in distilling processes.

A recent report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers suggests that higher water costs in the UK are inevitable due to the increasing occurrence of drought and flooding from climate change.