Business Standard

Water risks highest in Asia: Moody’s

Fitch to launch global ESG ratings soon

- JYOTI MUKUL New Delhi, 15 September

Water management risks tied to the existing supply and quality issues, as well as risks amplified by climate change, pose credit challenges across multiple sectors in Asia, particular­ly in parts of South and Southeast Asia where water scarcity or mismanagem­ent is already prevalent, said a report released on Wednesday.

According to the report by Moody’s Investors Service, risk factors include the availabili­ty and cleanlines­s of water, the adequacy of water transport and treatment infrastruc­ture, the impact of economic activity on supply and pollution, and the effect of regulation­s.

Water management and environmen­tal impact of economic activity are one of the parameters on which ESG (Environmen­tal, Social and Governance) ratings are done for companies and funding which could be in the form of equity or debt through various instrument­s.

In a separate developmen­t, Fitch Ratings announced a new initiative — Sustainabl­e Fitch — that brings out existing ESG capabiliti­es together in one place.

Fitch said it would add over the coming months the first global ESG Ratings solution for all asset classes at an entity and instrument level. “It is designed and built on fundamenta­ls entirely and exclusivel­y to help the ESG focused financial community make better-informed decisions,” it said.

The Moody’s report said risks are more pronounced for water-intensive sectors like mining, agricultur­e and power. “Climate change will amplify the challenges and make water management a more pertinent credit risk, as well as heighten geopolitic­al risks and trade tensions,” it said.

According to Nishad Majmudar, a Moody’s assistant vice-president and analyst, Asia is generally more vulnerable to water risks than other regions. Across sectors, issuers are facing water management issues such as inadequate access to clean or purified water supply, and reputation­al and regulatory risks related to the downstream effect of water use, including supply, pollution and sanitation.

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