The WaterEquity Global Access Fund IV is the first vehicle supported by the newly launched Water Resilience Coalition Investment Portfolio, which has identified a pipeline of collective investment opportunities that amount to at least $1 billion
New York, U.S.A., March 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Water Resilience Coalition (WRC), a CEO-led initiative committed to reducing global water stress by 2050, product of the partnership between the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute, today launched the WRC Investment Portfolio and unveiled an initial supported vehicle, the WaterEquity Global Access Fund IV. Announced ahead of World Water Day and the UN 2023 Water Conference, the WaterEquity Fund has attracted nearly $140 million in investments.
Five WRC member companies – Starbucks (the Fund’s corporate anchor investor at up to $25 million), Ecolab, Gap Inc., Reckitt and DuPont – have come together to invest alongside a $100 million commitment from U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, the United States Government’s development finance institution. This marks a significant milestone to achieve the intended total of $150 million that the WaterEquity Global Access Fund IV expects to attract by mid-2023 with the goal of reaching 5 million people with access to water, sanitation and hygiene.
Two billion people around the world currently live in water-stressed areas. Based on projected demand, if no action is taken, it is predicted that within the next 10 years the world will face a 40 per cent shortfall in freshwater supply. By 2050 more than half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas.
“Some $300 billion of business value is at risk due to water scarcity, pollution and climate change. It is vital the corporate sector invest now to protect this natural asset. Water is a shared resource and so we can only safeguard it to ensure the quality and quantity of its availability if we work together,” said Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact.
To address a challenge of such magnitude, the WRC Investment Portfolio charts a pathway for long-term sustainable investments in water—at a time when global stakeholders are calling for new investment strategies for water and increased investments from the private sector.
The pipeline identifies a diverse range of investment mechanisms that amount to at least $1 billion. Some examples include private equity investments, blended finance mechanisms, microfinance and impact bonds to drive investment into water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); nature-based solutions; and water and climate resilience.
WaterEquity is the first asset manager exclusively focused on solving the global water and sanitation crisis. Its fourth fund, the Global Access Fund IV, will have a positive impact on households of at least eight countries in South and Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America who will gain access to microfinance loans for the purchase of WASH assets such as household toilets and sewage treatment systems.
“This innovative financing strategy is poised to help mobilize the corporate sector on water in a radical new way—through investment collaboration,” said Jason Morrison, President of the Pacific Institute and Head of the CEO Water Mandate. “By bringing together leading companies in collective action and leveraging collective capital, the Water Resilience Coalition members will have more impact on water together than they can on their own.”
WaterEquity’s next fund, the Water and Climate Resilience Fund, will focus exclusively on investing in municipal-level climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure for low-income populations in countries in South and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
Through this fund, WaterEquity will provide financing for projects and companies intended to improve water sourcing, treatment, distribution, and reuse. Microsoft has reached a preliminary agreement with WaterEquity to be the first investor in the Water and Climate Resilience Fund subject to execution of final documents. Today, Starbucks also announced a total commitment of $50 million in investments to advance access to water, sanitation and hygiene. Both Starbucks and Ecolab are exploring participation in this fund as part of each company’s efforts to advance WASH.
“Water underpins every major global challenge. Addressing the global water and sanitation crisis is one of the best ways to build resilience to climate change, achieve global gender equality, and improve health and education,” said Matt Damon, Co-founder of WaterEquity and Water.org. “Our support from the Water Resilience Coalition helps us expand access to life-saving safe water at scale by mobilizing private companies to take collective action and put the needs of the most vulnerable front and center in their investment strategies. Through increasing access to water and sanitation, we can end the cycle of poverty once and for all.”
The WRC Investment Portfolio is the collective investment strategy of the Water Resilience Coalition, a partnership between the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact, to bring together CEOs of the world’s most influential companies to build a water resilient future. Today, 28 leading global companies, as well as a range of partners, including WaterAid, Water.org, and Unicef, are currently part of the Coalition and commit to accelerate quantifiable positive water impact in 100 water-stressed basins, contribute to water security for 3 billion people, and enable equitable WASH access for more than 300 million people by 2030.
The launch of the WRC Investment Portfolio also offers a preview of a second major announcement by the CEO Water Mandate to mobilize the corporate sector during the first official Side Event of the UN 2023 Water Conference on 22 March in the UN Headquarters.
Notes to Editors
About the Water Resilience Coalition
The Water Resilience Coalition is an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative by the CEO Water Mandate, between the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute. It aims to elevate the long-term mounting crisis of global water stress and its connection to climate change to the top of the corporate agenda and to preserve the world’s freshwater resources through collective action in water-stressed basins and through ambitious, quantifiable goals. For more information, visit our website at ceowatermandate.org/resilience.
About the United Nations Global Compact
As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with 10 universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals. With more than 17,000 companies and 3800 non business participants based in over 160 countries, and 69 Local Networks, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world. For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website at unglobalcompact.org.
About the Pacific Institute
Founded in 1987, the Pacific Institute is a global water think tank that combines science-based thought leadership with active outreach to influence local, national, and international efforts in developing sustainable water policies. From working with Fortune 500 companies to disenfranchised communities, our mission is to create and advance solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges. Since 2009, the Pacific Institute has also acted as co-secretariat for the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, a global commitment platform that mobilizes a critical mass of business leaders to address global water challenges through corporate water stewardship. For more information, follow @PacificInstitut on Twitter, and visit pacinst.org.
UN Global Compact
Ilsa Ruiz Hughes
CEO Water Mandate / Water Resilience Coalition
“Starbucks is proud to be an anchor investor in the Water Resilience Coalition Investment Portfolio funds. We are thrilled that Ecolab, Gap Inc, Reckitt, and Dupont are joining us and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to mobilize $150 million to help provide 5 million people globally with access to water, sanitation, and hygiene. This investment is part of our aspiration to give back more than we take from the planet and to be an industry-wide model for how the public and private sectors can create real change at scale.”
Michael Kobori, chief sustainability officer, Starbucks.
“We need a diverse portfolio of solutions to tackle global water challenges. By collectively investing in municipal-level climate resilient water infrastructure, such as the construction of wastewater treatment plants, we can scale up our impact on climate-vulnerable communities.”
Eliza Roberts, Water Lead, Microsoft.
“Everyone should have access to clean water and sanitation. Through the WaterEquity Fund, we’ll collectively address this complex global challenge and accelerate impact further and faster, helping to enrich more communities and build water resilience along our value chain.”
Sally Gilligan, Chief Supply Chain, Strategy and Transformation Officer, Gap Inc.
“As a global water leader who helps customers manage 1.1 trillion gallons around the world, Ecolab believes that water stewardship and sustainable business growth must go hand in hand. Our investment in the WaterEquity Global Access Fund IV will help provide clean water and sanitation for millions of people, while also making the business case for sustainability by showing a positive return on investment and a positive impact.”
Emilio Tenuta, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at Ecolab.
“DuPont is making this high-impact investment because achieving universal water access is fundamental to solving the global water crisis and delivering value for society. We are proud to join forces with other forward-thinking organizations as we align our water stewardship values to our investment strategies—empowering people to not only gain much-needed access to safe water and sanitation, but to all of the opportunities that access unlocks.”
Alexa Dembek, Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer, DuPont.
Reckitt works in pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world. This means improving access to clean water and sanitation, which we do in our operations, with our consumers and in the communities in which we work. We are proud to invest in WaterEquity’s Fund IV, as part of a collective that will improve the lives of 5 million people by 2030.
Fabrice Beaulieu, Chief Marketing, Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer, Reckitt.
“With its $100 million investment in WaterEquity’s Global Access Fund IV, DFC is helping tackle significant challenges to water security in developing countries around the world. DFC works with the private sector to finance solutions to the most challenging development issues of our time, many of which serve as barriers to economic stability and prosperity. They include the lack of access to clean, secure water resources and adequate sanitation that this investment will address.”
Scott Nathan, CEO, DFC.
CONTACT: United Nations Global Compact firstname.lastname@example.org
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