The tool makes a qualitative assessment of impact on freshwater resources at different stages of the value chain, based on independent and trusted academic, scientific and and industry-recognized sources. Its focus on environmental impact distinguishes it from tools that measure business risks posed by water. However, there is an interplay between environmental impact and business risk: a company that undertakes an industrial activity that has a high impact on the water environment tends to be exposed to greater risk.
CDP has over 200 industrial activities within its classification system.
For each activity, the tool ranks for the three key stages of the value chain: direct operations, supply chain and product use. At each stage, it ranks for two things: (1) the dependence of the activity on high volumes of freshwater withdrawal or consumption; (2) the water pollution or degradation potential of the activity. This gives six impact rankings for each industrial activity, ranging from 0 (“no impact”) to 3 (“high impact”). These are then summed into an overall impact rank for the industrial activity between 0 and 18.