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Carbon Trust to launch product water footprinting scheme

The Carbon Trust is calling for businesses interested in water efficiency to pilot its new product water footprint certification and labelling scheme.

The Carbon Trust is calling for businesses interested in water efficiency to pilot its new product water footprint certification and labelling scheme.

The scheme has been designed to help businesses demonstrate their leadership in sustainability by certifying the life cycle water use of their products using the ISO 14046 water footprint standard and methodology developed by the Water Footprint Network.

Participating businesses will be awarded “measuring” or “reducing” certifications based on their efforts to record and reduce water use throughout their operations, and will be able to use the internationally-recognised Carbon Trust label.

Water footprinting, like carbon footprinting, can help businesses better understand the sustainability impacts of their products and can be used to identify areas for improving water efficiency as well as pre-empting supply chain risks, thereby reducing costs and increasing resilience.

Global challenge

“Freshwater quality and availability are expected to be amongst the greatest sustainability challenges of the twenty-first century”, said the Carbon Trust, echoing a recent report from WWF that suggested that 80 per cent of all UK imports have water-related risks. 

The UN projects that global water demand will grow by 55 per cent by 2050 and that two out of three people will live in a water-stressed region by 2025.

The Carbon Trust argues that business “will be key” to solving the challenge, highlighting that agriculture accounts for more than 70 per cent of global freshwater use and water demand is expected to rocket by 400 per cent between 2000 and 2050.

Darran Messem, managing director of certification at the Carbon Trust, said the pilot was a great opportunity for companies interested in water efficiency to demonstrate leadership in their sector.

‘Good business sense’

“Companies that have been working hard to become more sustainable recognise the long term importance of getting a grip on the water use associated with their products”, he said.

“Understanding a full life cycle water footprint can help to focus efforts on reducing the most significant environmental impacts of products. But it also makes good business sense to highlight areas of unforeseen risk and cost-saving opportunities. 

“We would encourage any organisations that are interested in finding out how they could become the first in their sector to achieve life cycle water footprint certification to get in touch.”

For more information and to find out how to express an interest in becoming a pathfinder for the scheme, click here.