Upgraded Water Risk Filter can help transform business response to water risk | WWF

Upgraded Water Risk Filter can help transform business response to water risk

Posted on
08 November 2017
Over the past five years, WWF’s innovative Water Risk Filter has developed into a leading and trusted tool to help companies across the world assess their water risk. More than 200,000 sites have already been assessed by over 3000 users. But now it's time for a change. Indeed, some big changes.

Co-developed by WWF and KfW-DEG (the German Development Bank), the tool will undergo by far the biggest upgrade in its history. Along with major improvements to the way it looks and feels, there will also be significant changes to the way it functions, enabling companies and investors to assess, value and respond to their water risk.

So what exactly is new?
The tool has many new features and functions but let’s focus on a few of the key ones:
  1. A new look and interface
  2. An upgraded data structure and indicators
  3. A new mitigation toolbox
  4. A new valuation section
  5. A new way of working within WWF
     
A New Look and Interface
The first thing users will notice about the new tool will be the new branding. Not only will the Water Risk Filter have a new logo, but also a more compelling set of colours – from the website to the risk maps themselves. Most importantly, it will also boast a cleaner, simpler interface. The new tool will be structured around four areas: Explore, Assess, Value and Respond. While historically the Water Risk has included elements of all these, most of the focus has been on the ‘Assess’ section. The new version will be stronger in all four areas.
 
  • Explore: 36 risk maps, 40+ other layers, 100+ country profiles and 10+ WWF river basin story maps as well as WWF water risk & stewardship reports, and details on the methodology & data.
     
  • Assess: One or multiple sites using 28 basin risk indicators and an array of operational risk indicators and visualize the results with bar charts, tables, matrices and figures. Results can be saved and filtered by country, site, basin, etc. to better understand risk exposure. Additionally, results can be exported to Excel in a format consistent with CDP.
     
  • Value: Potential financial impacts by exploring how water and value link together using our valuation framework to unpack principles, guidance and calculators. A new valuation tool, powered by CDP Water’s data, will link the results of water risk assessments to potential financial impacts.
     
  • Respond: Drawing on a user’s unique sites, customized solutions will be recommended for either a specific site or portfolio of sites. These actions can be filtered by various frameworks (e.g. Sustainable Development Goals, Alliance for Water Stewardship, Ceres Aqua Gauge, etc.). Furthermore, results are hyperlinked to the CEO Water Mandate’s Water Stewardship toolkit for easy access to more resources.
     
An upgraded data structure & indicators
Our new structure offers the most comprehensive coverage amongst risk tools across physical, regulatory and reputational water risk. We’ve updated the data by adding 11 new risk layers and removing 7 older ones. Climate change projection data has also been added with more to come. Another major advance is our new partnership with RepRisk, which will now inform the water conflict data layer with regularly updated information. All of these data will continue to be updated on an annual basis to ensure dynamic water risk results.

A new mitigation toolbox
While the Water Risk Filter has long had a section dedicated to mitigation actions, the new toolbox will dynamically link the water risk assessment results for any given site (or even a portfolio of sites) to customized risk responses (i.e., mitigation actions). These actions are triggered by specific combinations of basin and operational water risk exposure, and the general level of sophistication that a given site has in its water stewardship journey. They are also split out into actions that a given site can undertake, as well as actions that a supporting entity (e.g., corporate headquarters) can implement to support sites.

Furthermore, each action is linked with an array of different water stewardship frameworks ranging from the Alliance for Water Stewardship and CDP Water to Ceres’ Aqua Gauge and the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, each action is also hyperlinked to the CEO Water Mandate’s Water Stewardship Toolkit, thereby enabling users to access the latest reports, case studies and guidance to implement responses.

In time, we envision further enhancing this mitigation action toolbox by adding sector-specific actions and frameworks (e.g., Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s HIGG Index and actions for Tier 1 suppliers).

A new valuation section
In 2015, WWF, in conjunction with IFC, put out a report that provided a framework for valuing water. This framework is now being incorporated into the Water Risk Filter to provide guidance to those seeking to convert risk into value. In addition, the new valuation section will link to the Bellagio Principles on Valuing Water, point out relevant guidance materials, and distinguish some of the “valuation tools” (or calculators) that have emerged, thereby helping people to find the right one.

In addition, WWF is adding its own valuation tool into the mix. This new tool will draw from the Water Risk Assessment results, to offer up specific events (and probabilities) which the user will then select from to identify potential financial impacts. Powered by CDP Water data, the new valuation tool will ultimately help to illustrate how water risk events can affect financial statements: from revenue loss due to droughts to depreciation of assets due to floods.

A new way of working in WWF
As we move further into the new Practice era, the Water Risk Filter is committed not only to serving the Freshwater Practice, but also to working across Practices and supporting the full WWF network. The tool will highlight work from various offices and basin teams, but also help to “mash-up” data – linking things such as tiger habitat and water risk (Wildlife), deforestation, water risk and opportunities for bonds to finance restoration (Forests & Finance), mangroves, indigenous communities and water risk (Oceans & Governance), or crop irrigation, water risk and potential market interventions (Food & Markets).

The tool will continue to be a great introduction to WWF’s work on corporate water stewardship – providing a great way to secure or add value to partnerships, gather geospatial intelligence (data) and better understand opportunities to work together at a landscape level with efforts such as the Landscape Finance Lab. Looking forward, one of our next pushes will be to develop the Water Risk Filter into a key asset to engage in climate change adaptation and resilience building and thereby support the Climate & Energy team. We believe that the Water Risk Filter embodies the spirit of “Together Possible”.

So stay tuned – we’ll be ramping up over the next two months, and going live in early 2018 with a push through to the World Water Forum in March.
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