This updated third edition of Feeding Ourselves Thirsty provides investors with guidance and relevant data for evaluating the water risk management of publicly held companies in the Agricultural Products, Beverage, Meat, and Packaged Food industries, collectively referred to as “the food sector” throughout. It also tracks these companies’ progress on assessing, disclosing and managing their water risks.
This analysis can also help food companies more effectively manage their water risks, which is critically important to their bottom lines. With the effects of climate change already being felt worldwide, and with steadily increasing demand for water-intensive goods from a rising global population, companies must evaluate, manage and mitigate their water risks in order to offer competitive returns to their investors over the long term.
- A unique dataset ranking 40 major food companies on the quality of their water risk management
- An analysis of how company performance has changed since prior rounds of benchmarking in 2017 and 2015
Companies are assessed on a 0-to-100 points basis across four key categories of water risk management:
- Governance and Strategy
- Direct Operations
- Manufacturing Supply Chain
- Agricultural Supply Chain
Learn more about the methodology for this report, including the specific categories and indicators used to evaluate company performance.
Meet the Experts
Kirsten James directs Ceres' strategy for mobilizing leading investors and companies to address the sustainability risks facing our freshwater and agriculture systems. Previously, Kirsten served for five years as the director of California policy and partnerships at Ceres, where she led strategy development for our California-focused policy work, engaging companies and investors in support of public policies that call for sustainable water management, clean energy and greenhouse gas emissions reductions in California.
Kirsten has been a regular blogger in publications such as Water Deeply, providing commentary on water policy and corporate water stewardship. In her personal capacity, she serves as an executive board member on the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters and a committee appointee for the Los Angeles County Safe, Clean Water Program.
Prior to Ceres, Kirsten worked for nine years at the Santa Monica-based environmental group, Heal the Bay, as their Science and Policy Director. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a master's degree in environmental science and management from the Bren School at University of California Santa Barbara.
Senior Associate, Water
As part of Ceres' Water and Agriculture program, Jacob works to mobilize food and beverage companies to address water risks in their agricultural supply chains. In this role he conducts research to improve investors' understanding of the financial risks associated with global water stress and coordinates shareholder engagement focused on water and agriculture.
Prior to joining Ceres, Jacob worked as an analyst for The Brattle Group, an economic consulting firm. As a member of the firm’s energy and utilities practice, his work supported litigation and strategic planning for electric utilities and natural gas distributors. Jacob holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from MIT.
As part of Ceres' Water program, Emma works to mobilize food and beverage companies to address water risks in their agricultural supply chains. In this role she conducts research to improve investor and corporate understanding of the financial risks associated with global water stress and coordinates company engagement focused on water and agriculture.
Prior to joining Ceres, Emma worked at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University where she conducted research on the links between environmental beliefs and food consumption behavior. Before this, Emma worked at the Conservation Law Foundation where she conducted research on sustainable agriculture policy and assisted with outreach for the Legal Services Food Hub. Emma holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and environmental studies from Bates College.
This report is made possible by the generous support of the following foundations: the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Park Foundation, Pisces Foundation, Turner Foundation, and The Walton Family Foundation. The opinions expressed in the report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors.