Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

UT researchers develop framework to assess water sustainability in investors'decision-making

How do large investors rate when it comes to water sustainability? Researchers of the University of Twente have developed and applied a framework to assess policies of investors regarding their incorporation of water sustainability criteria. A Dutch case study shows there’s still a long way to go. Findings of the research have been published in the Journal of Cleaner Production* recently.

Importance of water sustainability

The World Economic Forum consistently ranks water crises in the top-three of systemic risks posed to the global economy in terms of impact. Investors can play a major role in tackling those risks, as their investment decisions have a large impact on the state and shape of tomorrow's water resources.

“Investments today in new or updated arms, firms and factories will have ramifications for future water resource use and pollution”, Rick Hogeboom, lead researcher of the project and a PhD candidate at the University of Twente, states. “Failure by investors to transition from business-as-usual to more sustainable water practices implies water resources will continue to be further depleted, polluted and needlessly wasted, while prolonged inconsideration of sharing water resources fairly among users increases the likelihood of conflicts.”

Based on the Water Footprint concept

The assessment framework for investors is based on the Water Footprint concept, a result of the research of dr.ir. Arjen Y. Hoekstra, who is a professor in water management at the University of Twente. This indicator for water management performance has contributed to the fact that more and more companies have become aware of their water use (water footprint), in particular those active in agriculture or agriculture-related industries like food and clothing. In 2008, the Water Footprint Network was founded, aiming at supporting these companies in improvement processes.

> Read the whole article on the UT website 
> Full publication Water sustainability of investors: Development and application of an assessment framework

Tuesday 9 October 2018