Monika Freyman, CFA, is a senior manager at Ceres where she focuses on corporate sustainability reporting and socially responsible investing (SRI). She works with investors both individually, as well as collectively, by leading Ceres's Investor Water Hub on deepening integration of water and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) factors into portfolio management processes. She publishes reports providing investors guidance on ESG and water integration best practices or highlighting water issues in high-risk sectors. Freyman has also worked as a research consultant for the Initiative for Responsible Investment at Harvard, exploring the roots of the concept of sustainability to inform the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB). Freyman has a degree in finance from the University of British Columbia and an MS from Loyola University Chicago.
The water crisis in Cape Town, South Africa, demonstrates that carbon emissions and climate change are not the only sustainability threats, says Monika Freyman, CFA. Water concerns already affect investors' bottom lines as well as future risks to their top lines.
Although investors are increasingly aware of water risks in their portfolios linked to agriculture, there is still work to be done to improve risk analysis and mitigation strategies. Several investors have begun by simply asking companies for better disclosure of agriculture supply chain risks.
Water risks can lead to unlimited financial impact and loss. Have you embedded water risk analysis into your portfolio management process? There are a number of increasingly sophisticated approaches that investors can take.
"Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over." In these increasingly water-constrained times, this quote is as relevant as ever. The fact is water — or the lack of it — poses investor risks. Companies and investors can no longer ignore increasing competition over limited water resources.