Water takes its place as a material risk – and investment opportunity

Banks, institutional investors and consumers are demanding companies disclose climate risks. But a related risk factor may be more pressing (and lucrative): water.

A report from the U.K.-based Carbon Disclosure Project found that the impacts of droughts, floods, and water pollution cost businesses $14 billion last year—a five-fold increase from 2015.

The companies in the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE Group’s Water Infrastructure and Technology Index have outperformed the more than 7,000 companies listed on FTSE’s All World index by 22 percent in the past five years.

In 2015, institutional investors representing $2.6 trillion in assets called on water-intensive food and beverage companies to improve water management.

Only one-quarter of large and mid-size companies have set water efficiency targets.

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