Water Risks, the Great Plains, and the Packaged Food Industry: ESG Thematic Spotlight, November 2022

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In collaboration with The Water Council, this report explores the notion of contextual water risks impacting agribusiness operations and sourcing in the Great Plains region of the United States. Such risks include physical, reputational, and regulatory, with each imposing real financial effects to regional businesses.


  • Current and future droughts in the US present material risks to the agriculture industry. Companies operating in the Ogallala Aquifer (Great Plains) are highly exposed to water stress

  • Most agriculturally intensive regions in the world rely on water from stressed aquifers and exhibit similar characteristic stresses from depletion and climate change targets covering the full value chain, shifting focus to supply chain, and financed emissions in H1 2022 
  • The report assesses 114 companies in the Packaged Food subindustry, of which 22 are registered in the US and they all experience water-related risk in a variety of ways based on their business model (e.g., primary risk through direct operations vs supply chain)