Water is elemental. Crucial for life as we know it. Finite in supply — particularly fresh water — and is degraded over time by countless contaminants. Add it all up and it seems like the perfect combination of inelastic demand and diminishing supply. We need more, and better access to, safe fresh water. It seems very straightforward to invest in freshwater solutions and enjoy the returns. But, invest in what, exactly?
For far too long, protections for clean water and other environmental regulations have been framed as an impediment to a strong economy. When in reality, the opposite is true. Water is the foundation of a stable and growing economy and thriving communities. Protecting everyone’s right to clean water is a moral obligation. And it’s also a financial necessity. We simply can’t afford polluted water and here’s why…
Companies that are leaders in water efficiency and reuse practices as well as those offering innovative solutions to global water challenges may be in position to outperform their competition over the long term. Investors can allocate capital to companies equipped to meet these challenges – driving capital to responsible companies in the water industry will drive more investment in solutions to global water challenges.
Fresh water is a unique resource. It is essential to life, prosperity, and environmental sustainability. It is also a limited, scarce resource. It is renewable through nature’s hydrologic cycle or through the expenditure of real resources on recycling through treatment and purification. To achieve a fair, efficient, and sustainable allocation of fresh water, it must be priced in all its uses to reflect its opportunity cost and scarcity value, including any negative environmental externalities.