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14 Feb, 2008

Published: 07:00 Thursday 14 February 2008
By: Julian Knight , Coolaworld

This week I would like to examine the impact of water in relation to the environment and finance.

At Coolaworld, the new shopping platform from my team, the former creators and managers of the Global Cool Initiative, we have built a model where shopping 'cool credits' can be redeemed against planet-saving projects, including a number of water efficiency based schemes.

When we don't often consider is the intrinsic value of water embedded or hidden in everything we consume and in most industrial and manufacturing processes.

One of the excellent projects to educate the consumer about how to use water more efficiently is Waterwise, an NGO set up in the UK.

Waterwise has carried out a lot of research into the embedded value or hidden value or cost of water in everything we consume.

A plate of burger and chips, for example, can use up as much as 2,800 litres once you consider the water used in the agriculture and manufacturing processes.

Waterwise has published an in-depth list which collates the true embedded water value of a range of consumables, and has also created an easy to-do list which helps us all reduce our water footprint.

Bringing this through to the investment industry, water abstraction rights (the ownership of the legal process of water removal from the ground) are trading buoyantly around the world at the moment.

Why? Well it isn't difficult to imagine why places like China and the Middle East would want to secure their water supply - by doing that they can directly secure their food supply and also their supply of biofuels.

Water stress can be countered with simple actions, but the call as ever is that we hope that it is not too late!

Julian Knight, an expert on environmental issues, chairman of Coolaworld ( and former global head of Man Group, was talking to Daniel Grote. Contact: [email protected]

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