WWF launches online water risk tool

By Kris Bevill | March 28, 2012

A new online tool unveiled by the World Wildlife Fund and German development finance institution DEG allows companies to identify water risk within their supply chains and provides steps to mitigate that risk. The Water Risk Filter can be used by all industries in any country and was designed to be simple enough for anyone to understand, according to the WWF. DEG provided financing for the development of the tool, which is being made available to users at no charge.

According to the WWF, companies can use the results of the filter’s risk assessment to form a plan of action to mitigate those risks. Investors and creditors may find the information useful to identify risk and the potential for a return on investment. Additionally, the results could be used to advise project developers on improvements that will lead to less risky investments, according to the organization.

Bruno Wein, chairman of DEG, noted the increasing importance of water risk as part of the evaluations conducted by project financers.  “Water availability is the most underestimated critical issue for the companies we are financing, but we believe that financial institutions can help make the companies more sustainable in their performance,” he said. “Our work with WWF looks beyond the risks and shows practical ways how to change them into business opportunities.”

More than 20 companies tested the tool while it was being developed and many said they plan to incorporate the risk assessment tool into their strategies, according to Jim Leape, WWF international director general. “Water scarcity is a concern for conservationists, communities and companies alike,” Leape said in a statement. “But simply competing for every last drop will do no good to anyone. If water users become aware of their water risks – and work together to find solutions – we can ensure that people, nature and businesses have the water they need.”