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EdenTree Water Report

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England’s rivers are in trouble.


The Environment Agency’s periodic review into the state of English waters has found that just 14% meet ‘Good Ecological Status’ under the Water Framework Directive – a figure that has not changed since 2009.


The Agency records that there has been progress in some areas, and fall back in others. We know this is an issue that is important, but it is one that is mostly off the radar for investors. We wanted to explore what we could do, and how we could engage on a subject that appears unduly neglected by the capital markets. 

Water Report
Water Report

Stakeholder Voice: Alice Dearing: British Olympic Swimmer

Just as we have been pioneers in the delivery of responsible and sustainable investment opportunities, Alice has been demonstrating her pioneering spirit in the world of open water swimming and became the first black woman to represent Team GB in the sport.

Read more about our partnership with Alice Dearing

Q&A with Alice Dearing

Water is a big part of your life and career. How important to you is the health of our waterways?

Water is a giver of life and a key part of the ecosystem, creating the opportunity for life to grow and flourish. This very much includes human life, allowing us to live to our fullest. More and more people use our rivers for the mental and physical wellbeing effects they bring. The health of our waterways is essential for our communities to have areas of beauty for generations to enjoy.  

What do you think is the effect on people’s wellbeing if our rivers are polluted?

Pollution in water can seriously damage and affect people’s health as we have seen here in the UK. Rivers are a key part of the water cycle and the cleanliness is crucial to public and ecosystem health. To have people suffer from ill health because of water pollution is a serious concern. So is its damaging effects on biodiversity. Changing this is something which we can all play a part in.

Do you do anything to help raise awareness of the importance of keeping our rivers clean and healthy?

Working with EdenTree has given me a great opportunity to speak about issues that have always concerned me – such as water pollution and the preservation of the environment. I hope that over the course of our partnership and beyond I can do my part to raise awareness of the importance of river cleanliness and ecosystem health.

As a professional swimmer, how much of a difference does the cleanliness of a river make in terms of performance?

Water which is clean enough to drink whilst racing is the dream. Racing 10km is challenging and often means swimming in waters which are not drinkable. It is a nice thought that we could compete in water where we could drink safely as we go, but I am not sure how practical that actually is!

If the cleanliness of a river is particularly bad, what are the physical risks for you as a swimmer?

There are a range of risks and dangers which swimmers may put themselves under when swimming in polluted water. These are things such as: skin infections, external organ infections, exposure to e-coli, gastro-intestinal problems and other issues. In the events which I have participated in there has been a requirement to have the water to an acceptable standard of cleanliness - either ‘drinkable’ to ‘acceptable’. The Outdoor Swimming Society has written about the issues to watch out for and how to keep safe when swimming – it is important to follow these!

How do you think stakeholders can contribute to maintaining the health of rivers?

We can all contribute by making conscious choices about the businesses we support and invest in. Everyone has the potential to make a positive change on issues which are important to them, for example by taking an active role in their community or by choosing to invest responsibly and sustainably. As a water-lover, this topic is very important to me and I am pleased to see EdenTree taking action.

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