Water

ACTIAM's engagement approach makes the difference

The frequency of floods, scarcity of water, and draughts is increasing due to climate change. At the same time, many companies depend on water for their production processes. This makes water a material risk in investment portfolios. ACTIAM encourages the companies in which it invests to be transparent about these water resource risks, to improve the water-related risk management, and to reduce the water footprint of the operational processes and production.

When it comes to risks related to water resources, ACTIAM has a special interest in companies that are active in the mining, oil and gas as well as utility sector. For these companies, water is an elementary aspect of the production process. This also means that the right focus on the company's water management can lead to great results. A positive impact on the environment as well as on the financial performances of the company.

In doing this, ACTIAM reviews whether a company has access to sufficient water for continious use in cooling and operational processes. The second focal point is the manner in which these companies process the used water. Especially with companies in the mining industry, polluted wastewater can create significant problems for the living environment.

Start of the engagement

In February 2017, ACTIAM, in collaboration with services provider GES, started an engagement with the large Russian mining company Alrosa. The engagement was part of a broader programme aimed at the mining industry. Alrosa initially responded rather slow to ACTIAM's efforts to start a dialogue. Nevertheless, after several attempts, the company became more willing to engage. ACTIAM posed a number of detailed questions, formulated KPIs, and assessed the company's annual social report. All in all, this process took nearly two years.

Results of the engagement

The efforts made by ACTIAM in partnership with GES led to an improvement of Alrosa's scores on nearly all goals, which include a reduction in the use of water as well as a lower amount of wastewater. Additionally, the company took major steps regarding the governance of water management, the concrete reduction of pollution, and the risk analyses related to water. This progression is also included in the annual social report.

Focus on the use of water and information supply

Alrosa's water consumption improved, and the same goes for the information supply to stakeholders. Alrosa informed ACTIAM that its environmental management system now contains a 'dedicated clean water component' and that feasibility studies into mining technology now also include the aspect of 'water management'. Alrosa's annual social report additionally gives examples of water-saving technologies that were implemented over the past four years.

Status

Alrosa has given detailed answers to the questions submitted by ACTIAM about the management of water risks, risk and impact assessments, and the efficiency use of water. The company has delivered new and more detailed input about its integrated strategy regarding water management. ACTIAM and the management of Alrosa will maintain the dialogue in order to monitor the progress.

Source: ACTIAM, as per end of December 2018