Building on its history of working on water stewardship in agricultural supply chains, CBIS is setting its sights on the international arena, engaging some of the largest meat production companies globally on their critical role in water stewardship. Brazil and China are experiencing serious drought and water stress from pollution, respectively, which strengthens the case for performing systematic water risk assessments that are inclusive of the human right to water. The Human Right to Water and Sanitation clarifies that it is the responsibility of companies to ensure their operations do not infringe upon the right of individuals to sufficient, safe, acceptable and physically accessible and affordable water. This human right is further buttressed by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number 6, which includes a target for improving water quality by reducing pollution and minimizing the release of hazardous chemicals.
Conagra Brands is a large consumer packaged goods company. With iconic ready-to-eat and frozen meals brands, Conagra Foods has the opportunity ensure food sourcing is not negatively affecting local water supplies. In the first quarter of 2017, CBIS organized Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment members concerned with how the company is assessing and managing water risks in its supply chains and directed a letter to Conagra asking the company to assess water risks within its supply chain. Signatories with a total of $76 billion in AUM joined in the letter.
In April 2017, CBIS organized a call with Conagra Brands and investors from the U.S. and Europe, on the topic of water risks in the supply chain. The company has begun a process of mapping its suppliers to identify where its exposure to water risk lies, and to develop a plan of action with priority attention to the most water-intensive ingredients. CBIS encouraged the company to integrate community impact risks from both water scarcity and pollution in its supply chain mapping.