Tools and policies for understanding water risks in China

Tools and resources

For companies seeking to better understand their water risks in China, growing data resources are available. The World Resources Institute's Aqueduct project has released high-resolution water risk maps for the Yellow and Yangtze river basins, which can provide insight on the relative water stress facing a company's operations or supplier facilities. The Institute of Public Environmental Affairs, a leading Chinese NGO, supports an open source online database of water, air and hazardous waste pollution records that can be used by Western companies to identify poorly performing suppliers.

Collaborative efforts to support improved supplier performance are also growing. The Green Choice Alliance, a Beijing-based coalition of NGOs, is working to promote a global green supply chain by helping large corporations identify problem supplier factories, while also supporting interventions and audits to improve performance. NRDC's Clean by Design program is working with the suppliers of major textile brands to improve water management in fabric mills. Separately, a group of major apparel and footwear brands and retailers including Adidas, Nike and H&M are working collectively towards a goal of eliminating total industry discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020.

At Ceres, our goal is to accelerate this response with tools and resources that build better accountability into corporate supply chains. The Ceres Aqua Gauge, a roadmap for helping companies build effective water risk management strategies, provides guidance on best practices in dealing with water risks in supply chain. We've also developed an open source supplier self-assessment questionnaire for companies with industrial supply chains, aimed at increasing competitiveness and resiliency by helping suppliers assess and manage sustainability (and water) risks.

More data, transparency, and corporate leadership are welcome and needed. Leveraging supply chain data for improved performance will be a big theme at the Ceres Conference this year in San Francisco. Join us to share what your company is doing to increase supply chain transparency, support supplier improvements and mitigate water and other sustainability risks.

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