Starbucks, Gap, Reckitt, and others team up to invest in water access fund

access fund

The Water Resilience Coalition (WRC), an initiative led by CEOs, aims to reduce global water stress by 2050. The WRC was established as a partnership between the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute. Today, the WRC launched its Investment Portfolio and announced the WaterEquity Global Access Fund IV as the first supported vehicle.

This announcement was made ahead of the UN 2023 Water Conference and World Water Day.

The WaterEquity Fund has secured almost $140 million in investments, including a $100 million commitment from the US International Development Finance Corporation and investments from five WRC member companies: Starbucks (as the Fund’s corporate anchor investor up to $25 million), Ecolab, Gap Inc., Reckitt, and DuPont. This achievement is a significant milestone towards the Fund’s goal of raising $150 million by mid-2023, with the aim of providing access to water, sanitation, and hygiene to 5 million people.

Currently, 2 billion people worldwide live in water-stressed areas, and if no action is taken, it is projected that the world will face a 40% shortfall in freshwater supply within the next 10 years due to increasing demand. By 2050, more than half of the world’s population is expected to reside in water-stressed regions.

Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, stated that around $300 billion of business value was at risk due to water scarcity, pollution, and climate change. She emphasized the importance of the corporate sector investing now to protect this natural asset. According to her, water is a shared resource, and it can only be safeguarded to ensure the quality and quantity of its availability if people work together.

The WRC Investment Portfolio is a response to the significant challenge of sustainable water investments. As global stakeholders demand new investment strategies and increased private sector investments in water, this portfolio presents a long-term pathway.

With a minimum value of $1 billion, the portfolio proposes various investment mechanisms such as private equity, blended finance, microfinance, and impact bonds. These mechanisms aim to channel investments into areas such as water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), nature-based solutions, and water and climate resilience.

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