Managing risk in the food sector is inherently complex and exacerbated by the impact of climate change. One of the key risks for business in the food value chain is water and requires urgent attention, robust assessment and response.
For the food industry, which uses more than 70% of the world’s fresh water for growing crops, livestock and processing, water shortage is a real risk. Additionally, it is estimated that a 56% increase in crop calories will be required to feed a population of 10 billion by 2050. We will need to supply more calories than ever before with a finite amount of water to support future generations. The food industry, which is dependent on large volumes of water supply will be one of the first industries to face issues as rising temperatures, variable rainfall and shifting weather patterns make fresh water scarce and affect agricultural production.
Jointly with Ceres and World Resources Institute, WBCSD organized a series of webinars through the month of June to bring together leading companies, investors and other stakeholders in the food and agriculture sector to explore how companies are managing water-related risks, how investors can drive change, and highlight new methods and tools available for risk management. The series aims to better equip businesses and investors with the tools and resources needed to map current and future water risks in agriculture, understand the best practices taken by leading global food sector companies and identify collaborative opportunities for action.
Participants shared their experiences about the water risks their businesses face, approaches they adopt for risk assessment and target setting, how disclosures and targets can lead to better decision-making and the importance of collective action to drive impact at scale. The webinars also provided information on available resources to support business and investor action on water, and the applicability of standards such as the Alliance for Water Stewardship and Sustainable Rice Platform to drive context-relevant actions.
You can view the complete webinar series here:
- Part 1 (2 June 2020): Introduction to water-related risks in the food value chain
- Part 2 (9 June 2020): How disclosure and targets can drive better decision-making
- Part 3 (16 June 2020): How standards and collective action drive context-relevant actions
- WBCSD report: An enhanced assessment of risks impacting the food and agriculture sector
- Ceres report: Feeding ourselves thirsty – Tracking food company progress towards a water-smart future