Why Should Companies Measure Their Water Footprint?

Before developing an effective and sustainable water management strategy, it is necessary to put in place water measurement procedures to generate realistic water use and wastewater discharge figures that are comparable from year to year. By calculating individual water footprints for a product or facility, it is possible to expose inefficiencies and highlight where significant improvements are possible or where specific risks lie. Measurement thus forms the basis for establishing realistic goals to handle water resources sustainably.

In addition, ever more investors are asking for the disclosure of water-related data in order to inform their investment decisions. As a result, it has become increasingly important to take measures to communicate and convince potential investors that water risks will not affect long-term growth prospects, particularly for companies exposed to water scarce regions in their direct operations or supply chains. Many reporting frameworks exist to facilitate such disclosure, including the CDP, GRI or RobecoSAM.

Where, When and How Much?

Measuring your water impact involves first becoming familiar with the different measurement protocols that exist and selecting the approach most relevant for your sector as well as setting an appropriate scope of any monitored water use. Doing so can help determine whether to measure your direct operations only or also to include your indirect, supply chain water use, and help you reevaluate how and where you withdraw from the local watershed.

Identifying the significant components of a corporate water footprint is therefore a complex process, which requires a high level of expertise. As a leading supplier in this field, First Climate has extensive knowledge and the necessary experience.

Calculating your Water Footprint with First Climate

We can assist you in calculating your company-specific water use, whether based on a single site, product line or covering your global production network. To ensure the quality of the water footprint, we take into account current standards and detection methods, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Water Footprint Network or ISO 14046. We also advise you on the selection and use of your case optimal methodology and reporting framework.

Using the right calculation methodology is an important basis for setting credible optimization targets and for achieving broader sustainability objectives. Important considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • Is the production site located in an area that is water stressed or not?
  • Are there any other users who access the same sources of water?
  • Do any differences arise at different times of year (e.g. winter versus summer) or from year to year?
  • Where are the major water consumption points (green, blue, grey) within your supply chain?

As a Silver Consulting Partner of the CDP-water program for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Great Britain, we have extensive experience with water accounting and reporting procedures. Based on your needs, we support you in creating a new reporting framework from scratch or in optimizing existing procedures, and also offer a benchmarking service allowing you to compare your performance with other companies in your industry.

“CDP is delighted that First Climate is supporting the water program as a silver consultancy partner in the UK and DACH regions. First Climate demonstrate a strategic approach to help companies measure, manage, and report their water-related impacts and the steps needed to reduce them. The expertise that the First Climate team brings to CDP’s work to enhance water security makes them a valuable contributor as a consultancy partner.”

Cate Lamb,
Head of CDP’s water program