Veolia launches new tool to determine true cost of water

Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies says its new ‘True Cost of Water’ methodology helps companies and water utilities understand water-related risks

Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies launched on Monday its newest solution to help companies in Asia address ‘blue risks’.

The metric tool, called the ‘True Cost of Water’, will help businesses and municipalities to assess the financial implications of various risks and impacts concerning water, allowing them to make better decisions in managing water. 

Water is increasingly becoming a scarce natural resource and Veolia Water, which provides technology for water management and conservation, highlighted the importance of this issue at the launch of its new tool on the sidelines of the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands Expo Convention Centre.

The two-day conference focused largely on issues relating to sustainable development, including how businesses should account for the natural resources they use and the environmental impact of their operations in order to preserve the planet and sustain economic growth.

Currently, water crises is the second biggest global risk for businesses over the next ten years, based on the 2013 World Economic Forum report, said Johann Clere, Veolia global director for business development and industrial markets at the launch.

With this tool, financial and high level decision-makers are now able to make better, more calculated choices when investing in industrial water sustainability solutions around the world

Johann Clere, Veolia global director for business development, industrial markets

“Blue risks are already damaging the bottom line”, he added. As such, there is a need to translate possible water problem scenarios into an economic footprint to get the attention of decision makers, Clere explained.

The ‘True Cost of Water’ tool puts in monetary terms three types of costs relating to water and its usage: direct costs, such as the price of water, operational costs and investments in water infrastructure; indirect costs like administrative, legal and corporate social responsibility costs; and, costs related to risks, which could include the financial consequences of water shortages, flooding, financial and regulatory risks, and even reputational risks.

By looking at these actual and potential costs, companies or public authorities will be able to anticipate and mitigate any foreseeable damage to their operations brought about by water challenges.

They will also be able to prioritise initiatives that are less impactful or invest in sustainable practices like wastewater resource recovery and water reuse.

The ‘True Cost’ is a macro perspective view into the company’s sustainability in the aspect of water, Clere told Eco-Business. “With this tool, financial and high level decision-makers are now able to make better, more calculated choices when investing in industrial water sustainability solutions around the world,” he added.

The tool is a strategic and planning solution which complements the Green2Biz programme that Veolia Water launched in early 2012. The initiative helps companies identify how to improve their wastewater treatment to save energy and reduce their environment impact.

“The main difference is we’re looking at how to reduce the impact or water footprint of existing facilities with Green2Biz while ‘True Cost’ is a top to bottom approach for business development,” Ivy Latour, Veolia Water marketing and communications manager, explained to Eco-Business.

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