What’s big business investing in right now?

Companies are investing in water security at record levels, according to the latest CDP Global Water Report.

The report – which analyses water data from 742 of the world's largest companies including Nestle, Burberry and Kellogg’s – found that water leadership has increased 193%. In the latest edition, 73 companies made the CDP Water A List, compared to 25 last year.

The US, Japan and the UK are the three countries with the most companies on the A List, at 13, 12 and nine respectively.

The boardroom is increasingly engaged in water issues, according to the CDP, which highlights the “growing accountability and performance in water management”. Disclosure has increased 40% since 2016, and companies have committed $23 billion to improve water security across 1,000 projects in 91 countries.

Those leading the charge include Bridgestone, Burberry, Kellogg’s, Sanofi and Woolworths, while the energy sector is still lagging behind, with 101 out of the 138 energy companies failing to disclose.

Meanwhile, 7% of companies including Diageo, Colgate Palmolive and Nestle are now putting a higher price on water internally to reflect its increasing business cost.

For example, Colgate found that the 'true' cost of water is 2.5 times more than the purchase cost and uses a water cost tool to quantify some of the hidden costs such as pre-treatment, pumping and wastewater treatment.

“The stakes are high as we assess corporate progress towards a water-secure world,” said Paul Simpson, CEO, CDP. “From brand damage to disrupted supply chains, increased operating costs to constrained growth, water security is now big business and poses increasingly significant threats and opportunities to global firms.

“Our research shows more large corporations rising to the challenge with the number of A List companies nearly tripling in a year and 7% using internal accounting to assess the true value of water to their business. Congratulations to those organizations leading the way.”

 You can find the full report here.