- Develop a method for measuring the water footprint of companies on the basis of product-specific water footprints and company life-cycle assessments
- Provide a geographically explicit water inventory database
- Link the methods and database in a water footprint tool
- Calculate water footprints for case studies at industry partners
- Produce a detailed analysis of the local water risk for relevant sites and suppliers
- Initiate water stewardship measures in collaboration with local stakeholders
- Draw up recommendations for connecting water footprints and water stewardship
Most products are manufactured in international value chains, which means that a large share of Germany’s water consumption happens outside the country. The water needed to make our products is often consumed in regions of the world where water is extremely scarce. Examples include producing cotton in Central Asia, growing grain in North Africa, and extracting ores in desert regions. At the same time, companies usually only measure and manage their water consumption at their production sites – despite the fact that upstream energy and material chains often use significantly more water. This makes it impossible to identify and reduce the local impacts of water scarcity beyond the production sites. The method for calculating companies’ water footprints will close this gap. By combining the life-cycle assessment method which provides a framework for assessing a company’s environmental impact, and the water footprint method, WELLE will provide companies with a scientifically substantiated instrument, the use of which will be improved by a specific database and related tool.
More information about the joint research project is available here.