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Guidance and online course launched by CDSB to help companies disclose water-related financial information to investors

The Water Guidance offers companies a means of developing their reporting practices and ensuring that investors are receiving the information needed to drive the transition to a sustainable, resilient, and water secure economy.

23 August, 2021 – The Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) today released a new guidance and an online course to support disclosure of financial water-related information by companies.

Sustainable management of water is essential to business. In 2020, corporates reported water-related risks totalling US$301 billion through CDP; while stating that the investment needed to mitigate those risks was only US$55 billion.

The recently released Sixth Assessment Report by the IPCC also stated that “Evidence of observed changes in [climate] extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened.” Investors therefore need high-quality financial information on material risks, opportunities and associated performance faced by companies in relation to water to enhance their investment decisions, helping them to manage risks and invest in sustainable and resilient businesses.

The CDSB Framework application guidance for water-related disclosures (Water Guidance) offers companies a means of developing their reporting practices and ensuring that investors are receiving the material water-related information needed for effective capital allocation to drive the transition to a sustainable, resilient, and water secure economy. Importantly, the Water Guidance helps businesses in integrating this information in their mainstream financial statements, making the links between environmental and financial performance.

The Water Guidance aligns with existing water reporting standards and practice and helps businesses to apply the Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) beyond climate to water. Doing so will help businesses respond to investor needs and enable companies to meet the demands of evolving regulation globally. A new online course, based on the guidance, is now also freely available on the TCFD Knowledge Hub.

Following the publication of a shared vision in sustainability reporting by CDP, CDSB, GRI, IIRC and SASB in 2020, CDSB introduced the concept of dynamic materiality in the Water Guidance, explaining how it can be applied in the disclosure of water-related information in the mainstream annual reports.

Mardi McBrien, Managing Director, CDSB, said:

“Water issues pose immense risks for businesses and the society. The recent dramatic droughts in the United States and Australia and the flooding in Europe and Asia clearly illustrate that. Companies are facing growing investor pressure to provide decision-useful information on risks and opportunities associated with water, and this can and should be done with the same rigour as financial information.”

The Water Guidance was developed with the contribution of a dedicated CDSB Water Working Group, consisting of over 60 members from across the globe with corporate, academic and NGO backgrounds. Part of an ambitious 4-year project, it is supported by the LIFE Programme of the European Union and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and will be available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Francesca Recanati, Environmental specialist, and the lead author of the guidance, CDSB, said:

“Whether a company is just starting out or already disclosing water-related information, the CDSB Water Guidance provides a wealth of useful tools and resources to help enhance corporate water-related disclosure, zooming in on risks and opportunities as well as the connectivity of water with other topics, such as biodiversity, land use and climate change.” 

The new guidance complements the CDSB Framework and is part of a series of resources that help businesses navigate the disclosure on the nexus between Climate, Water and Biodiversity, highlighting the interconnectedness of various environmental topics. The Biodiversity Guidance is due for release in Q4 2021. Earlier this year, CDSB has also published a position paper addressing corporate reporting on social matters

To learn more about the Water Guidance, join CDSB at the World Water Week event on 23 August for a session with speakers from AstraZeneca, Diageo, DWS, Eumedion and WWF.

Download the guidance here.


For more information and interviews, contact:

Patrick Hanrahan, Head of Communications, CDSB


Phone: +44(0)7929414191


About CDSB 

The Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) is an international consortium of business and environmental NGOs. We are committed to advancing and aligning the global mainstream corporate reporting model to equate natural and social capital with financial capital.

We do this by offering companies a framework for reporting environment- and social-related information with the same rigour as financial information. In turn this helps them to provide investors with decision-useful environmental information via the mainstream corporate report, enhancing the efficient allocation of capital. Regulators have also benefited from CDSB’s compliance-ready materials.

Recognising that information about natural, social and financial capital is equally essential for an understanding of corporate performance, our work builds trust and transparency needed to foster resilient capital markets. Collectively, we aim to contribute to more sustainable economic, social and environmental systems.


    With the contribution of the LIFE Programme of the European Union. The content of this page is the sole responsibility of the author and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.
     This publication is funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.