Asia Water Project: China, Educating Investors and Business about Water Risks in China
Earlier this year, ADMCF and HK-based public policy think tank Civic Exchange officially launched the pilot Asia Water Project: China (www.asiawaterproject.org), which is a web-based information portal designed to help investors and business understand the growing risks around water pollution and supply in china.
Besides aggregating information on China’s water risks, the portal showcases AWP’s own commissioned research, designed to plug substantial information gaps.
AWP works closely with a growing network of water and industry experts from China and Hong Kong, as well as others based internationally who provide information and research that is not always accessible elsewhere. Original research facilitated by AWP includes:
– Water in China: Issues for Responsible Investors – Ahead of launching the portal, AWP organized an investor briefing with Bloomberg in Hong Kong to release this investor research produced by Singapore’s Responsible Research. The report details investor risks and trade-offs between access to clean water and China’s economic growth. AWP also promoted the report via a webinar sponsored by the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.
– Hong Kong’s role in mending the disclosure gap, a report authored by Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environment Affairs and Christine Loh, CEO of Civic Exchange. The findings showed that 15% of companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange have environmental violation records on the mainland. Many of these companies are repeat offenders and failed to disclose their subsidiaries’ multiple environmental records. AWP as an initiative grew out of ADMCF’s work with Ma Jun, who uses government violations data to name and shames companies that are polluting China’s water and air. The lack of transparency around environmental violations that Ma Jun and AWP seek to address presents a growing risk to companies and shareholders. Investors who aim to consider water-related risks when making investment decisions just don’t have adequate data to compare and contrast.
– Falling up! Water pricing must meet true costs. In partnership with CLSA brokerage and investment group, AWP released another report examining the trends in water pricing in China and implications for the business and investment communities. Lead authors, Christine Loh and Guo Peiyuan, director of Beijing-based SynTao, participated in briefings organized by CLSA with their investor clientele.
In its first few months of operation, AWP explored water-related risks for the hydropower, food and beverage, and IT industries. It also featured 18 interviews with investors, business leaders, water experts and leading NGO figures, 16 expert opinions on topical issues including analysis of recent events such as the Zijin Mining spill as well as China’s growing IT consumer campaign in reaction to heavy water pollution.
These have been redistributed through several respected websites and online news portals such as the Forbes China blog, China Dialogue and others.
Central to its success, AWP has built a solid network of water and industry experts and investors from China, Hong Kong and elsewhere. This network shares an interest in building knowledge that will lead to better management of China’s water resources.
ADM Capital Foundation currently manages AWP, supported by the portal’s founding partners, Civic Exchange, the Association for Social and Responsible Investing in Asia (ASrIA), Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), and Responsible Research.
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