Insights

Energy and resources predictions 2012

Corporate water footprint: Potentially the next 'tipping point'

Deloitte’s third energy predictions report provides interesting food for thought as we embark on 2012. The report provides key insight into the key themes which will impact the energy and resources sector in 2012, including volatility in commodity prices, breakthroughs in nanotechnology, new technologies in oil recovery and the future of oil field services.

Commenting on the report, Michael Flynn, Partner, Deloitte said:

“Over the last twelve months, there has been no shortage of themes impacting energy and resources globally. But perhaps one which is particularly pertinent to both companies in the sector and Irish companies in general, given recent water shortages, is that of the corporate water footprint, potentially the next ‘tipping point’ for energy companies and which this report highlights will be one of the key themes throughout 2012.

From developing a better understanding of overall water usage and water intensity to understanding the specific kinds of business risk that emerges from water use in addition to the water opportunities that can emerge from adeptly managing water use, this report provides a number of steps which energy and resources companies can take now to seize control of their water usage.”In a recent Globescan/Circle of Blue survey of 15, 000 people over 15 countries, water related themes represented the number one and number two concerns identified, with even climate change ranked sixth.

This will not come as a shock to those of us in Ireland - in the past year we have seen water supply disrupted country wide, with local authorities warning of water shortages because of dwindling reservoir supplies and burst pipes due to the harsh weather. In Ireland, 43% of water is wasted through leakages in the water system and while the launch of the NewERA project, which will oversee the investment of €4.2 billion to upgrade Ireland's water infrastructure and deliver economies of scale by bringing all of Ireland's water assets under the ownership of one state company, should deliver real improvements in this area, businesses in Ireland now need to play their part in terms of consumption. And those operating in the energy and resources sector should be leading the way in this regard.

Energy and resources predictions 2012

Last year’s predictions established that water use is the common denominator among all forms of energy. It follows that sustainability considerations are becoming key inputs for business decisions in energy companies. Globally, we are seeing businesses begin to respond to the challenge of water management. Many of the world’s largest companies and multinational high tech business have identified water reduction targets. Groups have recommended that investors assess the reliance of their portfolios on water resources and their vulnerability to problems availability and pollution. Those in the industry need to be playing their part too.

Budget 2012 saw the introduction of the household charge, and it may be seen as a further indicator that water metering is on the way. And so, households in Ireland will become ever more cognisant of their water consumption. In turn, businesses here in Ireland need to better understand their dependence on water and how they can improve their water footprint.

From developing a better understanding of overall water usage and water intensity to understanding the specific kinds of business risk that emerges from water use in addition to the water opportunities that can emerge from adeptly managing water use, this report provides a number of steps which energy and resources companies can take now to seize control of their water usage.”

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