Water management and corporate social performance in the food and beverage industry

This study identified water ecosystem indicators used in the food and beverage industry to assess corporate water risk management. To this end, the relationship between corporate water risk management and the overall corporate social performance of 61 companies in the food and beverage sector was analysed.

The results concluded that the most commonly used indicators were dependence of operations on freshwater, change in water supply, water use in facilities, collaboration with communities and agricultural water risks.

Indicators that address an inside-out perspective, such as impacts on communities, were used less frequently. In addition, companies’ overall corporate social performance, as measured by the MSCI KLD-ESG indicators, is a good predictor for the use of water indicators.

In general, the companies analysed follow an outside-in approach to their water management activities. Water management is an important part of corporate social responsibility activities in the sector because the business performance of food and beverage companies is intertwined with their water management.

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