and to report on those actions to shareholders and the public. In this study, we offer a comprehensive review of corporate reports, with a focus on evaluating how companies are recognizing, addressing, and reporting their water- related risks and practices.
Corporations have long published annual financial reports describing economic trends and opportunities in their sector, as well as the yearly performance of their own firms. Over the past two decades, a growing number of companies have begun publishing non-financial reports to describe their environmental and social performance to their stakeholders, with the understanding that these factors are increasingly tied to financial performance and company reputation. Unlike financial reporting, sustainability reports take diverse formats, and the information presented in them varies widely from company to company. This is partly because sustainability reporting is still in the process of being harmonized, but also because the information that is considered material to a company and its stakeholders varies greatly among companies and industry sectors. In other words, the contents of such reports reflect what companies (and sometimes their stakeholders) perceive as critical. This study focuses on a review of corporate reporting pertaining to freshwater use and quality in an effort to provide insights on the type and extent of water risks businesses are recognizing as significant, as well as how they are striving to manage those risks.