• June 26, 2019

By Monika Freyman, CFA

How can investors, companies, and policymakers work together to address the global water crisis?

It’s hard to believe that almost two months ago we were gathered in San Francisco for the Ceres Conference 2019 - an engaging three days of plenary talks and breakout sessions from investors, companies and policy leaders on how to create a just and sustainable global economy. 

One of the most impactful sessions addressed one of the world’s precious natural resources: water. Led by our very own Mindy Lubber, the plenary session brought together thought leaders from the public and private sectors for a conversation on the world water crisis, highlighting the urgency of the crisis and the need for immediate, collective action in order to solve this profound risk for businesses and communities. 

Panelists included Betty T. Yee, California State Controller, and a board member of two of the largest U.S. pension funds, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), and a board member of Ceres. Ms. Yee called for the elevation of the criticality of water, noting that the stranded asset with respect to water is human lives. Addressing the complexity of water, Henk Ovink, Special Envoy to the United Nations, challenged attendees to never waste another drop of water, put a price on it and consider valuing every drop. Bob Fisher, Chairman of the Board of Gap, Inc., closed the session with a powerful call to action, highlighting the unique responsibility investors have to place pressure on companies to set goals for water risk and other climate change issues. 

As Mindy Lubber challenged us all: the time to act is now to more fully value water. Check out the full highlight video and Ceres Investor Water Toolkit to protect our water sources by assessing, mitigating, and acting on water risks within your investment and company portfolios.

Interested in learning more about other leading initiatives to address the water crisis? Mina Guli, CEO and Founder of Thirst, highlighted the urgency of the water crisis and her personal journey running marathons to raise awareness at the Ceres Conference 2019. Mina’s full World Ceres talk can be viewed here.