The SEC Sustainability Disclosure Search tool allows users to find disclosures in 4,500 US companies’ annual filings relating to water availability, scarcity, quality, pollution, regulation and innovation.
The tool covers 10-K filings from 2009 to the present and helps investors, companies, analysts, academics and other stakeholders understand to what extent companies are measuring, managing and disclosing material water risks and opportunities.
For example, a new Ceres/CookESG analysis, derived from the tool, shows that around half of the 433 California-based public companies in the Russell 3000 Index provided disclosures about water risk. Of these, four water utilities provided the most detailed disclosures, followed by two property developers acquiring water rights and developing water resources in the state. All of these disclosures discuss the ongoing drought and its impact on their business.
Investors have taken a strong interest in water risks and opportunities in their portfolios in recent years, filing 75 water scarcity or water pollution resolutions with companies between 2011 and 2015. They have also filed hundreds of resolutions on issues in which water plays a critical role including fracking, climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
This new functionality is in addition to searches related to energy efficiency, renewables, clean energy and climate change risks.
Ceres recently released a report ranking the nation’s 37 largest food companies on how effectively they are managing freshwater supplies.