CDP water FAQs

Will my company's response be scored this year?
CDP aims to score all water responses received by 30 June from publicly listed companies in 2015. We are currently in negotiations to secure a water scoring partner. Companies should therefore utilise the CDP water scoring methodology when formulating their response. We will share more information at the end of March to confirm those companies that will and won’t be scored.

With regards to publishing water results this year, CDP’s proposals are as follows:
  1. Individual company water scores, from both public and private respondents, will be shared with investors via CDP’s password protected investor portal.
  2. Individual companies will receive their score as well as the ability to benchmark themselves against their peers in an anonymised fashion via score feedback charts.
  3. CDP will not release a full Water Index in 2015. Instead, we will focus communications on those companies that have achieved Leadership status. This approach will allow CDP to continue to create a positive race to the top, whilst avoiding alienating those companies that are at the beginning of their water stewardship journey.
What is CDP’s water program about?
CDP’s water program helps institutional investors, companies and policy makers better understand the business risks and opportunities associated with water scarcity/stress and other water-related issues by increasing the availability of high quality business information on this critical issue.
Why is water a business issue?
Water is becoming an increasingly important strategic issue for businesses: in 2013, almost three quarters of Global 500 respondents (70%) identified water as a substantive business risk. For some respondents, anticipated financial impacts are as high as US$1 billion, and the majority (64%) of reported risks are expected to impact now or within the next five years. Through increased disclosure, CDP believes that companies will be better positioned to both understand and manage water-related risks and that the information provided will drive better decision making by investors, policy makers and other interested stakeholders.
What companies have been sent CDP’s water questionnaire in 2014?
The CDP water questionnaire is sent to a subset of the:
  • Global 500
  • S&P500
  • Australia’s ASX 100
  • South Africa’s JSE 100
  • Japan’s TSE 150
  • UK’s FTSE 100
Only those companies in the most water-intensive sectors and those sectors most exposed to water-related risk have been selected.
What if my company doesn’t use much water in its operations?
Although we appreciate that some businesses may only require small volumes of water in their operations, if water is critical to these operations and it is no longer easily available to them due to drought, tighter regulations or abstraction limits, then their operations may be severely disrupted. Another area for consideration is water use in their supply chains which is also of concern to investors.
What if I don’t have data on my supply chain?
You will be given the opportunity to explain why you do not have this data and if you have plans to assess the risk from your supply chain in the future.
Water is so cheap that I don’t see what the financial risk to my company is? How do I persuade my senior managers to agree to disclose?
The cost of water does not reflect its true value to business, which instead lies in business continuity, licence to operate and brand value. For example, customers may stop buying products from a company they perceive to be a poor water steward. Also, governments may pass regulation reducing a company’s access to water, forcing it to cut production or move it, at great cost, to other locations. Investors need to know that companies are prepared for these potential risks.
What is the deadline for submitting a response?
The deadline for companies to respond is the 30 June 2014. We will offer limited extensions in line with standard CDP practice.
What if a company wishes to change or update a response?
Submissions and revisions must be made by companies by 30 June 2014 to be included in the annual CDP reports. After this date, responses can only be amended by CDP staff and this may incur an administration fee. CDP cannot guarantee that changes made after 30 June 2014 will be reflected in the reports produced.
Can other companies report to CDP’s water program?
Yes, we welcome responses from any company. We do not include non-requested companies’ responses in the statistical analysis in the 2014 global water report but we quote from them to illustrate leading practice.
My questionnaire is only showing the Introduction page, how can I access the other questions?
When you first access your response, you will initially only see the introduction page. The information entered on this page determines key aspects of the questionnaire, therefore, until you have successfully saved the introduction, you cannot access the entire set of questions.
Why is my "Submit" button missing?
This can occur if you change a Registered User after the response has been started. If this is the case, please contact so that it can be reset
Can my consultant have access to my online response system account?
The Registered User for a responding company must always be a representative of that company, they cannot be a consultant. However there are two options to give a consultant access to your company response:
  • The Registered User can share their sign in details with the consultant. They should be aware that if they select this option they are still responsible for the content of the response, even if the consultant makes the actual submission; or
  • The consultant can be set up as an additional user, which will give them editing rights but not submission rights. Therefore the Registered User will need to make the actual submission themselves. We will also need written (email is fine) confirmation from the company that the consultant can be added.
Has the water questionnaire changed from last year?
The water questionnaire has been refined for 2014 in order to align more closely with the UN CEO Water Mandate Disclosure Guidelines and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

The 2014 water questionnaire is comprised of five modules, three of which broadly follow the three pillars of the CEO Water Mandate disclosure guidelines: ‘context’ which asks about the current state the company operates in; ‘implications’ which asks companies to disclose water risks and opportunities; and ‘response’ which covers topics including governance and strategy, compliance and targets and initiatives. CDP has included two further sections: the first on risk assessment, which asks companies to disclose the procedures and requirements their organizations follow for their risk assessment and the second on accounting which asks for both basic and advanced water accounting data.

How do companies participate in CDP’s water program?
Companies need to register using the activation link emailed to them by CDP. This will confirm their participation in the program and allow the company to respond through the Online Reporting System (ORS). If they have not received an activation link, they can email
Who has access to company data from CDP’s water program?
Responding companies may choose whether their responses are public or non-public. Public responses are accessible via our website in precisely the same way as for CDP’s climate change program.
Will my response be scored?
CDP is piloting its water scoring program in 2014 on a confidential basis with a select sample of companies that include Global 500 respondents, water members of CDP’s Reporter Services and Supply Chain program and endorsers of the CEO Water Mandate.
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