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The Latest Barrons Top 100 Sustainable Companies List has a Compelling Insight

by | April 22, 2024

Corporate Engagement in Water Stewardship is Trending Up 

In an era where environmental stewardship is a critical driver of socioeconomic success, the annual “Barron’s Top 100 Most Sustainable Companies” list acts as an important verification of corporate ESG actions.  By leveraging comprehensive ESG metrics and performance indicators, Calvert Research and Management (in partnership with Barron’s) evaluates the sustainability practices of the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., acknowledging those that excel in a range of areas from workplace diversity to community engagement and environmental action. A top rating is viewed as important validation and is shared broadly in corporate communications.  

At True Elements, we look forward to this annual sustainability ranking to understand the latest ESG trends and identify leading companies.  As we analyzed the list this year a new key theme emerged.  For many years “environmental action” has been nearly synonymous with “decarbonization action” (as exemplified in Figure 1), but this year we noticed significant momentum in corporate water action. 

Figure 1 (Source

Our analysis of the list reveals 95% of companies named in Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies for 2024 have a published water goal included in their most recent Annual Sustainability/ESG Report. This marks a notable increase compared to just 3 years ago when 72% of the Top 100 companies disclosed water goals in their public-facing reports. 

Traditionally, companies emphasized reducing their water footprint within their operations and value chains. This year water initiatives have expanded and diversified to include external disclosures, water positive commitments and community engagement on water topics. This change indicates growing awareness of water as a material risk to business value chains. 

Additionally, nearly half of the ranked corporations have engaged with initiatives like the CDP Water Questionnaire, further underscoring the increasing societal and investor demand for transparent water data reporting. This trend demonstrates the recognition of water risk as an important consideration for investors in today’s business landscape. 

Source: CDP Water Security Infographic 

From Risk to Opportunity: Leaders Are Embracing Water Strategy as an Essential Part of Business Strategy 

The Barron’s Top Sustainable Companies list reveals a growing understanding of water as a linchpin of operational continuity, supply chain reliability, reputational security and economic success by major U.S. corporations, reaffirming the crucial role of water stewardship in corporate sustainability efforts. 

At True Elements we believe that increasing action to understand and address water issues is due to the wide-ranging impacts of climate change on the water resources society, the environment, and the economy rely on to function and thrive. Water risk in the private sector extends beyond materiality within the four walls of company operations. It can encompass reputational, physical, and transitional risks throughout a company’s value chain and the communities in which they operate. Water scarcity may mean that operations need to halt or slow down. It may also mean that costs rise for employees or that communities struggle to supply water to their many constituents. More than ever before, corporations must manage water related financial risks while also engaging their many stakeholders to ensure aligned objectives are in place. 

Source: Pacific Institute & GreenBiz 

Successful Climate Adaptation Requires an Informed Water Strategy 

Navigating the complex terrain of water data and disclosure is a challenge for decision-makers, given that water data is often disparate and difficult-to-interpret.  

As global water challenges escalate, we see from Barron’s list that corporations are increasingly recognizing water as a material business risk. To best understand and address these risks companies will require comprehensive guidance on how to effectively assess the risks posed by climate related changes to water resources and align their climate adaptation strategies, water goals and related ESG targets. True Elements addresses these challenges by providing decision-makers with the necessary insights to mitigate water risks and understand water opportunities efficiently and effectively. Our comprehensive, enterprise grade Water Intelligence decision support system maximizes the power of water data, empowering decision-makers with actionable insights derived from state-of-the-art technology, reliable scientific analysis, and AI capabilities. 

Water Intelligence is essential in shaping the landscape of sustainable business practices and laying the foundation for a more resilient and secure future. True Elements’ Water Intelligence System turns water risk into resiliency by quickly and seamlessly delivering insights that enable decision-makers to build successful climate adaptation strategies. 

By Andrea Lyon, Sales Operations Manager 

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