Except for some diehard sceptics, global warming has become a reality, as seen in the ongoing severe drought in California, now into its fourth year. True, California already had a history of droughts but never one this intense and serious.
Top experts from the US National Academy of Sciences attribute it directly to higher global temperatures. Despite recent rains, these scientists fear that the prolonged dry spell is the harbinger of a long phase of recurring droughts in the future. With rising population density and expanding farming and industrial activities in California, the impacts and implications of the drought have reached an unexpected scale, leaving political and business leaders no choice but to implement long-term solutions.
And it so happens that such solutions already exist. They have been invented, developed and perfected in countries that suffer from a structural lack of water.
For example, at Shafdan, Israel’s largest water treatment plant, wastewater is first filtered to get rid of the 40 tonnes of solid residue that it carries every day and is then purified using bacteriological processes and reinjected into sandy groundwater. The process’s sludge residue is itself purified and transformed into organic fertiliser used in farming. The entire treatment plant is computer automated, including valves, machines and filters. Such processes have come into widespread use in Israel and have made the country the global leader in wastewater recycling, with 85% of its sewage collected for purification.
Similarly, Singapore’s NEWater programme has helped reduce its water dependence on neighbouring Malaysia. It uses techniques such as microfiltration to eliminate suspended solids and particles, reverse osmosis to get rid of salts, heavy metals, nitrates, sulphates and pesticides, and ultra-violet disinfection to ultimately provide drinking water of a quality that is well within World Health Organisation guidelines.
It is precisely in companies that develop and implement technical solutions such as these that BNP Paribas Asset Management funds invest. These funds, which have been developed around the “Aqua” and “Climate Impact” strategies, contribute to the financing that these companies need to develop and innovate.
Sustainable and responsible investments (SRI) is one of the nine themes which we think reflect investors’ key priorities this year. Linked to those themes we have chosen funds which we believe represent the most relevant solutions to the challenges of the current market environment as well as the evolving needs of our clients.
BNP Paribas Asset Management’ offering includes a broad range of SRI products to meet the needs of clients who are keen to combine return potential with making a positive impact on the environment and society.