Water Footprint: New Way To Measure Green

March 4, 2009

Environmental journalists are used to talking about the "carbon footprint" of people and organizations. But with climate change and growing populations, water scarcity and declining water quality will gain priority. So it might make sense to start exploring the "water footprint" — a new metric discussed in a recent CERES/Pacific Institute report.

Also on that page you can download a guide for businesses on considering the water footprint in business, financial, and environmental decisions and planning.

The report identifies water-related risks specific to eight key industries: electric power, high tech, beverage, agriculture, apparel, biotechnology/pharmaceutical, forest products, and metals/mining firms. If these industries are major players in your region, it might be a good idea to start calculating their water footprints now, as a baseline for future comparison.

Appendix C of the report lists several other organizations and efforts that are good sources on calculating and using water footprints.