Water Footprint Network launches guidance on combined reduction of water and energy use
Water Footprint Network and consultancy firm Anthesis have published a white paper that gives a guidance for business and governments to tackle energy and water use in tandem, both locally and globally.
The whitepaper Energising the drops: Towards a Holistic Approach to Carbon and Water Footprint Assessments was released at the Nexus 2014 conference at the University of North Carolina, USA on 5 March.
Major companies including Nestlé, Baxter Healthcare, Sainsbury’s, Buro Happold, Boots UK, GlaxoSmithKline, C&A, CLS Holdings, Nokia, Tata Cleantech Capital and Crown Paints have signed up to this first ever framework to manage water and energy use simultaneously.
This year's theme of World Water Day - celebrated on 22 March - is water & energy.
Water and energy strongly connected
"Until today, water and energy use has been tackled separately", said Paul McNeillis, Director of Anthesis and co-author of the report. "By considering them holistically, we are starting to clear the path towards sustainability."
Ruth Mathews, Executive Director of the Water Footprint Network, said: "This invaluable research is a win for the environment and a win for the economy. For the first time, businesses and governments can prioritise where to focus their investments in order to reduce their impacts and derive maximum returns."
Art Gibson, Baxter Healthcare's vice president of environment, health and safety and sustainability said: "Baxter recognizes the strong connection between water consumption and energy use, and works to reduce both. Implementing projects that consider these elements holistically results in greater conservation of natural resources and improved operational performance."Successive steps of the Water Stewardship Maturity Progression, Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines, CEO Water Mandate, August 2012.
Energy production at risk
The white paper highlights the danger of considering water and carbon footprints in isolation as increasing demand for water places pressure on energy usage. Population increase, varying levels of precipitation and energy-intensive urbanisation are all placing strain on water supplies.
However, according to separate recent research by the Carbon Disclosure Project, only 63% of major companies have taken steps to manage the business risks.
Current solutions, including pumping water from lower groundwater tables and desalination, require vast amounts of energy. With their use likely to increase in the coming decades, managing the dynamic between carbon and water use will be essential.
About Water Footprint Network
The Water Footprint Network promotes the transition towards sustainable, efficient and equitable water use worldwide through the advancement of the water footprint concept and the application of Water Footprint Assessment. It connects and inspires global, strategic action amongst the full spectrum of stakeholders involved in solving the world’s water problems.
This news item was originally published on the website of Water Footprint Network (as a pdf-file).
Download the whitepaper (as pdf-file): Energising the drops: Towards a Holistic Approach to Carbon and Water Footprint Assessments
Water Footprint Network
Enschede, the Netherlands
+31 53 489 5383