May Newsletter: The Down & Dirty: This month we give you the down and dirty on water, energy and possible linkages to cancer. An estimated US$7.3 trillion is at risk in primary production sectors including mining and utilities according to the new TEEB report. Author of this report, Trucost tells us why US$1.9 trillion of this is down to water. So do we invest to mitigate this now or wait? In the case of the cancer villages, is official recognition the tipping point? We look at the spread of cancer villages around China and industries that may be responsible. As promised, we also review water for coal and why thirsty miners will in share the pain per CLSA’s recent report, whilst Nathanial Bullard of Bloomberg New Energy Finance tells us why Chinese utilities are in hot water as they have to spend US$20 billion if they want to be water efficient. With so much focus on mining, we also review the status of water disclosure for the sector globally to find out why despite leading the way in water disclosure, the sector still has far to go. Perhaps we should all play Aqua Republica: Chengzi Chew of the Danish Hydrology Institute explains how the game can help us gain better perspective on the importance of water allocation and its impact on business, people, food & energy. After all, water is a shared resource and other people also have a say!
April Newsletter: Time to Spring Clean: With over 10,000 pigs dumped into the Huangpu river in Shanghai, we focus on taking stock and cleaning up. Global Water Intelligence’s Olivia Jensen tells us why Asian water stocks are playing snakes and ladders whilst Magali Simon, the Asia Pacific Head of Water Solutions of BASF gives us a 101 on wastewater treatment. With much ado on pollution & talk about potential markets in “cleaning up”, we rooted around to find out if there is money in “sludging it” out. We also look to see what others are doing to spring clean: H&M’s Claire Hau talks about why water is important to the brand & how it is pioneering water stewardship in fashion, whilst Mike Kilburn of the Airport Authority of HK shares with us the airport’s innovative triple water management system. One of Tien Shiao from WRI’s five key takeaways from Asia Water Week hosted by ADB, is that governments & businesses are on the same page. This together with the recent CLSA report questioning whether pollution is the new canary in the coal mine points to opportunities abound to clean up. Spring cleaning is not an independent effect, it’s time for industry to act together … to borrow a quote from H&M …”it’s not enough to be a clean fish in a dirty pond”.
March Newsletter: All Change: Hope Springs: March ushers in the official “all-change” of the old guard. Does the new guard mean new policies? Xi’s bold statements and events leading up to this week’s National People’s Congress meetings lead us to harbour hope for water pollution control. Perhaps new laws will be introduced and enforcement of existing laws tightened. Professor Wang Canfa who has been involved in the drafting and revision of over 30 national and local environmental laws, regulations and decrees talks to us about whether a “new broom sweeps clean” and in case you are rusty on government policies, check out our summary of key water policies and decrees from 2011-2013. With environmental protection at the top of the agenda for the new guard, we also take a closer look at new ways of solving old water issues such as payment for watershed services. China is already the largest provider of these services globally but also plans to be more aggressive and innovative – we take a look at how. In addition, we asked Dr. Changjin Sun, the former Director of the Centre of Ecological & Environmental Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to share his views on the development of such services in China. If you are finally convinced you should get on top of water risks but don’t know how, Tien Shao of the World Resources Institute walks us through why tools like the new Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas make mapping water risk as well as identifying investment opportunities easy.
February Newsletter: Enter the Water Snake:Will we be bogged down or will we slide ahead with water this year? Check out our review of 2012 and top five water trends for 2013. Dr. Guo Pei Yuan of Beijing’s Syntao also shares his views on water in 2012. As we predicted, water moved from the sidelines into the spotlight in 2012 where we expect it to stay in 2013. Already in January we see five arms of Chinese government announcing three new water policies, from provincial quotas, inefficiencies & quality, to pricing and new markets – is China now set for economic growth? With 30 barrels of water required to produce one barrel of oil, Wai-Shin Chan of HSBC Climate Change Strategy tells us why water could be more important than oil in an increasingly thirsty world. We turn to technology to solve the water-energy nexus… Ron Dizy, CEO of ENBALA Power Networks (water industry’s Top 5 innovations that will matter most) shares with us their award-winning tech that uses water to balance the grid. If all else fails, China could follow the UK and import water through trade. Happy reading and happy lunar new year.
January Newsletter: Sink or Swim: With the Handan ‘Cover Up’ fresh in everyone’s mind (see ‘Tapping In’ for more) we take a look at corporate action on water – are corporates serious or just paying lip service? Water stress tops the list in causing operational disruption in the recent CDP Water Report, yet KPMG says only three of the world’s 250 largest companies report on part of their supply chain’s water footprint. Are companies really on top of water risks? Bangladesh is a clear example of where supply chain risk is ‘sinking’ reputations. At first glance, there appears to be lots of water but in actual fact, Bangladesh faces seasonal water shortages of up to 40% in the dry season. What lessons can we learn? As investor focus on water risk rises, we talk to Marcus Norton, Head of Investor CDP and CDP Water, about progress and the stumbling blocks in measuring and disclosing such risks. On a lighter note, our team takes a closer look at our Christmas presents to see if we were weighed down by “Gangnam Style” and useless gifts which only serve to stuff landfills. We wish you a very happy new year!
December Newsletter: Retail Therapy … shop, shop, shop: Tis’ the season to be jolly and in Hong Kong, the shopping frenzy has started. This month we look at our consumer choices vis-a-vis water … How long can we continue to enjoy a traditional turkey lunch or shall we stuff the turkey and be vegetarian? Where do we shop to avoid giving away toxic presents? What about shopping for water companies – is a big spender a savvy investor or villain in the making?Spent too much money already? There is always true “recycled fashion” – clothes picked out of trash. No really, check out the battle of the bins face-off! Had enough of shopping? Vent your frustrations on social media … see who else is getting blogged down (or not) with water on Twitter and/or Weibo. Go forth and shop, with water in mind (we wish) … Happy holidays!
November Newsletter: The Emperor is Naked: It’s all about exposure. The fashion industry took a hit last month with “Sustainable Apparel’s Critical Blindspot” naming 22 out of 49 brands as being non-responsive to claims that they use polluting factories. This month, we speak to Ma Jun on why fashion brands need to stop greenwashing and start taking responsibility. Greenpeace also shares with us their work in removing endocrine disrupting hormones from the supply chain, whilst Dupont tells us how enzymes can solve this. It’s not just reputation at risk, future consumers are also targeted. Beijing based, Thirst tells us how they are influencing the choices of the young by teaching them about the hidden value of water in their food & clothes. Exposure to water risk is builiding – isn’t it about time investors look deeper? Hi-street & hi-end portfolio diversification may not work when products are sourced from the same supplier – check out blackholes & blacklists.However, it’s not all doom & gloom, there are brands pro-actively trying to make sustainable apparel work. Jason Kibbey, director of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition walks us through the Higg Index and the challenges of measurement.
October Newsletter: A Shifting Waterscape Shapes China’s Energy & Food Choices: HSBC’s recent report “No Water, No Power” warned that project financiers, investors and companies could be stranded high and dry, so this month, we take a look at energy options and water. Is coal better than gas from a water perspective? To frack or not to frack in China? What about renewables & biofuels? Read about all these and more as Debra Tan gives us the lowdown on the Beijing Fortune Global Forum Sustainable Development Roundtable on “Energy, Food & Water”. We also asked International Rivers to give us their views on whether achieving hydropower capacity is mission impossible given climate change. Whilst Lisa Genasci looks at whether fracking is the answer to water-scarce China and gives us her key takeaaways on “2 Degrees + Food” where Dr Shenggan Fan, Director General of the Iinternational Food Policy Research Institute shares his views on feeding the world, food v. fuel and challenges ahead.
September Newsletter: A Way Forward in Water & Food Security: With the focus of the World Water Week in Stockholm on water & food security, this month we dive deeper into Hong Kong’s water security as demand on the Dongjiang River increases across the border. Will the new proposed desalination plant solve our concerns? The Assistant Director of the HK Water Supplies Department talks about the government’s plans whilst Daniel Cheng, Managing Director of Dunwell Enviro-Tech shares his views on the challenges ahead. We also explore the way forward in agriculture on how to grow smarter with BASF’s Head of Food & Agriculture for Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile, Village People Project provides insight into water woes in Gansu caused by mispricing of water at a rural level.
August Newsletter: Environmental Awakening: With over 500 protests a day, this month we look at the role and impact of environmental protests which are largely rural and water related. Professor Zweig, the Director of the Center on China’s Transnational Relations also weighs in with his views. Given increasing NGO pressure, reputational risk of brands come into question: Textile specialist Pinneco Research ponders if water woes signal the end of fast fashion or will new trends emerge? Esprit tell us why they are a trendsetter in this regard with their new recycled collection boasting up to 70% water savings.
July Newsletter: Water & Food Security: The Positives: With Rio+20, how can we not explore water & food security. Unfortunately, these themes are large, slow moving and generally depressing. So this month, we choose to look at the positives as the financial sector takes a step towards moving beyond GDP in the Natural Capital Declaration and 45 CEOs call for a price hike in water to reflect its real value. We continue to be bullish on China importing more food following panel discussions on food and water at Standard Chartered Earth’s Resources Conference, and feel optimistic after hearing institutional managers of US$1.8trillion say water risk is beyond pricing in NBIM’s water seminar. The water sector is also heating up with S$13.6billion (US$10.7bn) of MOUs & deals announced and signed last week at Singapore International Water Week; the head of cleantech at Singapore’s Economic Development Board gives us the lowdown on the event, new tech and growth areas. Singapore’s drive to be a global water hydrohub is in stark contrast with Hong Kong’s laissez-faire attitude, the Civic Exchange tells us why time may be running out for Hong Kong.
June Newsletter: In Pursuit of Standards & Standardisation: This month, the Chinese government issued various new standards on pollution. We take a look at these and other standards set recently. We talk to Swire Pacific about intergrating sustainability into their Annual Report and Redress talks about how their newly launched recycled clothing standard could end up staving water. We also review the difficulty in standardising disclosure despite investor demand and company questionnaire fatigue and compare disclosure differences between the Top 10 CSR China & Global companies on the Fortune Top 100 Socially Responsible List. To round up the picture, certification expert, Control Union Certification gives us a 101 on standard setting.
May Newsletter: Liquid Solutions: “Two Degrees Celsius + Water” was a success with over 70 participants. Most found it a ‘sobering’ event – check out the forum’s 8 take aways. With so much talk of risk, we thought it’s time for solutions! This month we asked some experts to share their experiences in harvesting the low-hanging fruits of water efficiency gains: pipe expert Pure Technologies on non-revenue water, AECOM on harvesting rainwater using cities as catchments and Energenz on how water audits could result in water earnings. Sometimes simple solutions are the best. Thinking out of the box works too… Global Water Intelligence expands on why there could be streams of gold int he water-for-mining sector.
April Newsletter: No water = no power: Is a shift in fundamentals required for China’s drive for energy security to succeed given water is the elephant in the room? We ask where are the water risks in coal mining company Winsway’s bond offering document, whether biofuels could be the next big thing and why China may have to build more dams… which brings us to water treaties with her neighbours, or rather the lack thereof – should we start to worry? With DEG and WWF’s new free Water Risk Filter tool, there really should be no more excuses not to asses such risks; perhaps we are heading in the right direction. Separately, we are co-hosting “2oC Plus Water” with the Climate Change Business Forum of Hong Kong.
March Newsletter: Do the Right Thing: The Chinese government appears to be “doing the right thing” by putting water high on the political agenda ahead of the World Water Forum, which started this week. This month, we review the government’s ‘stark warning’ and mull over why they are being frank about the water crisis.
February Newsletter : Enter the Water Dragon: Are we headed for a year of ‘smooth sailing’ or turbulent waters? Find out in our 2011 water review which includes five trends for 2012. Given the new No.1 Document’s focus on agriculture, we look to see if China can grow enough food to ensure ‘a prosperous ever after’ and gain insight on water pricing trends from Steve Clark, of Sino French Water. With China owning the headwaters of South and SE Asia’s largest rivers, we review the overhanging threat of water wars. Will the Water Dragon stir up these heated waters? Isabel Hilton, editor of China Dialogue explains why she thinks this is much ado about nothing. Happy reading and happy lunar new year!
January Newsletter: Double Savings = Double Happiness! We look at ways to remain prosperous with savings in energy and water; how to make “water sense” of your property; how Zero Liquid Discharge could be the solution for pollution; and set out 8 things you should know about Hong Kong water. We wish you all the best in the Year of the Dragon!
December Newsletter : A Green Christmas? This month, we look at where key fashion brands and Apple stand on water pollution, discuss sustainable apparel with Patagonia, and seek advice from Redress on where and what to buy. Finally, the recent Evian and Volvic scare in China leads us to question whether it is time to invest in water filters … Happy Holidays!
November Newsletter : Is desalination a solution for China’s water crisis? This month, we review trends & opportunities in this market, discuss policy issues with the Secretary General of China’s Desalination Association and Amnon Levy, COO of IDE Tech shares his insights on desal technology and the challenges ahead. It has now been two weeks since we went live and the fact that we have been presenting and participating/moderating in panel discussions on water risks at events hosted by global banks shows how important water risks are to the economy. Some of the more interesting discussion threads are covered in our last highlight “Food for Thought.”