69. Water consumption and discharge
Background Freshwater, on which we depend, is essentially finite. It is predicted that by 2025, two-thirds of the world's population will live under water-stressed conditions.i
Context The bank has reported water consumption at metered sites since 1999, and 90% of staff are now covered. CIS reports water consumption across the business for the first time, and accounts for premises covering 85% of office-based staff for 2002 and 2003.
Water consumption In 2003, CFS consumed 12,155 litres of water per employee. Performance is substantially better than the Environment Agency's Benchmark of 18,250 litres, but is worse than the Building Research Establishment's best practice target of 9,000 litres.
Water consumption - Bank During 2003, water consumption at the bank increased slightly (0.1%). Consumption per employee was 10,905 litres. Usage at main offices (9,962 litres per employee) was much higher than anticipated, and largely a consequence of unusually high readings at Prescot Street, London (30,404 litres per employee). During 2004, CFS will investigate this issue, and seek to improve water efficiency at this site. Water consumption per customer account has reduced by 5.4% compared with 2002, and by 45.4% compared with 1999.
Water consumption - CIS During 2003, water consumption at CIS decreased slightly (1.2%). Consumption per employee was 12,962 litres. However, following a decrease in customer account numbers, water consumption per customer account has increased by 6.9% compared with 2002.
Water supply and discharge All water consumed by CFS is taken from the general water supply network. The vast majority of water discharge is to the foul sewer network, with the remainder being released to air, via air conditioning and other cooling systems.
WaterAid In November 2002, the bank launched three WaterAid ii affinity Visa credit cards. Details of the bank's affinity Visa Credit cards can be found here. During 2003, sufficient monies were raised to build 200 wells and 20 hand pumps in Uganda, 20 school sanitation blocks in Tanzania and 600 latrines in Zambia. These could provide 40,000 people with access to clean water and a further 6,600 people with improved sanitation facilities.
By comparison, according to their Sustainability Report 2002, at Credit Suisse Group, water consumption is 73 litres per employee per day (cf. 29 litres per employee per day at CFS).
Flood risk The increased prevalance of flooding, brought about by climate change, presents a substantial challenge to the continued availability of home insurance across the UK. The UK Climate Impact Programme estimates that the UK's winter rainfall could increase by around 20%.iii This may double inland flood risk, and ensure that many riverside towns breach the 1.3% annual probability limit, beyond which insurers would not normally guarantee cover. In 2003, the Association of British Insurers (ABI), with the support of CIS and other members, enacted an agreement with the UK Government.iv In return for the UK Government committing to sustained expenditure on flood defences, the industry has guaranteed that the vast majority of the 10% of domestic properties (and small businesses) situated in floodplains will continue to have full access to a competitive market for insurance, with premiums and other contract terms reflecting the different levels of flood risk. The broad provision of flood and storm cover in the UK, without Government support, is currently unique in Europe.
i Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (2000). Guidelines for Company Reporting on Water.
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iii UKCIP (2000). Climate Change Scenarios.
iv Press Release (26th September 2002). Insurers announce new principles for flood insurance. www.abi.org.uk
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Assurance on the data and commentary detailed within this Report is provided by justassurance, in accordance with the AA1000 Assurance Standard. Follow this link for the auditors' assurance statement