Water makes life possible. It makes economies function. But, in many parts of the United States, freshwater resources are in jeopardy, creating profound long-term risks for businesses and communities.
Our water supplies are under severe strain due to growing demand, pollution and climate change. Re-thinking how we value water is a critical first step in reducing these strains and safeguarding future water supplies.
Water is a finite and precious resource, but our economic systems treat it as limitless and of little value. For many companies and other water users, their water bills are so small that it hardly seems worthwhile to conserve. The result is unsustainable water use across much of our economy—from industry to agriculture to homeowners.
Ceres brings unique capital market solutions to these challenges. We are changing the way that businesses and utilities manage water, and the way that investors consider water risk in their investment decisions. By reshaping how key economic actors value water, we can turn smart water management into a business fundamental and water stewardship into an economic imperative.
We focus on three key sectors with enormous responsibility for protecting our nation’s water security— water utilities, oil and gas, and agriculture. Taken together, these sectors are responsible for more than 90% of the nation’s water consumption. By improving their water management, we can build an economy that protects freshwater for the future.
- Corporate Water Stewardship
- Shale Energy & Water Risk
- Water Infrastructure and Financing
Water Climate Bonds Standard
Nov 23, 2015
- Water-related projects are a growing subset of the green bonds market that encourages investments for a low carbon and climate resilient economy. The Water Climate Bonds Standard is intended to provide investors with verifiable, science-based criteria for evaluating water-related bonds, and to assist issuers in the global corporate, municipal, sovereign and supra-sovereign markets in differentiating their green bond offerings. By establishing this screening tool, we aim to maintain credibility in the green bonds market, which reached almost US$40bn in annual issuances as of 2014 and could be valued at US$1tn by 20201. This standard can be used to evaluate projects as diverse as industrial water efficiency, reuse, catchment or watershed restoration and or large-scale water supply infrastructure development. This document provides the necessary methodology and process to evaluate a project’s likely compatibility with the Water Climate Bonds Standard, whether you are a project sponsor, an underwriter, an auditor or a bond investor. This Standard should be recognized as a starting point and can be supplemented by other relevant standards that cover areas such as stakeholder engagement, social or human rights.2 We emphasise that the proposed criteria are provisional and may be adapted either due to public feedback or future developments in the water sector. The Water Climate Bond Standard Consortium3 and Technical Working Group (TWG) have undertaken best endeavors to present a comprehensive first version of the Standard, however it is acknowledged that revisions will be needed over time. Accordingly, feedback is welcomed in order to ensure the Water Climate Bonds Standard are as robust, credible and practical as possible.
View From the Top: How Corporate Boards Engage on Sustainability Performance
Oct 28, 2015
- Corporate boards are responsible for overseeing the interests of shareholders in the long term and have a critical role to play in championing sustainability across the enterprise. Over the years, Wall Street research, academic papers, corporate reports and trends from major investors have all underscored the same message: Companies that adopt sustainable practices deliver superior financial results and can face the future with more resilience. Based on interviews conducted with dozens of corporate directors, senior corporate leaders and governance experts, this Ceres report, View from the top: How Corporate Boards Engage on Sustainability Performance identifies key strategies for effective board engagement that can produce tangible environmental and social impacts.
Water Connection Charges: A Tool for Encouraging Water-Efficient Growth
Aug 11, 2015
- As many U.S. communities are struggling to support growing populations with limited water resources, very few of them are utilizing water connection charges to increase water-savvy residential development projects in their communities.
21st Century Engagement: Investor Strategies for Incorporating ESG Considerations into Corporate Interactions
May 28, 2015
- 21st Century Engagement: Investor Strategies for Incorporating ESG Considerations into Corporate Interactions is a guide for U.S. institutional investors on engaging with companies and policymakers on sustainability issues and includes tactics and case studies from 37 engagement experts spanning six countries.
Ceres Annual Report 2014
May 15, 2015
- Ceres began as a bold experiment 25 years ago, with just a few investors who envisioned a different way for companies and the capital markets to behave. At the time, our idea was radical: We set out to create a new sustainable business model that could protect the health of the planet and the long-term well-being of its people—all while strengthening, not limiting, our global economy.
Feeding Ourselves Thirsty: How the Food Sector is Managing Global Water Risks
May 07, 2015
- In Feeding Ourselves Thirsty, Ceres takes a closer look at how the food sector is managing water risk. The report evaluates publicly available information on the water use, stewardship and policies of 37 major food sector companies in four industries: packaged food, beverage, meat and agricultural products. The report examines how water risks affect the profitability and competitive positioning of these companies using indicators and scoring drawn from the Ceres Aqua Gauge.
Bond Financing Distributed Water systems: How to Make Better Use of Our Most Liquid Market for Financing Water infrastructure
Sep 02, 2014
- Water utilities are at a crossroads. in the years ahead, they will have to invest billions in their infrastructure simply to catch up on backlogged repairs—and billions more to accommodate growing demands and changing hydrologic conditions.
Measuring & Mitigating Water Revenue Variability: Understanding How Pricing Can Advance Conservation Without Undermining Utilities’ Revenue Goals
Jul 10, 2014
- As water utilities across North America undertake capital campaigns to finance the replacement and expansion of their systems, the need for confident revenue projections grows.
Water and Climate Risks Facing U.S. Corn Production: How Companies and Investors Can Cultivate Sustainability
Jun 11, 2014
- This report provides new data and interactive maps on the risks facing U.S. corn production, as well as detailed recommendations for how corn-buying companies and their investors can catalyze more sustainable agricultural practices that will reduce these risks, preserve and enhance yields, and protect precious water resources.
Gaining Ground: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability
Apr 30, 2014
- This report evaluates how well 613 of the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies are integrating sustainability into their business systems and decision-making. The report— a collaboration between Ceres and Sustainalytics—assesses corporate progress across the four strategic areas first outlined in 2010 in the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability.