Funding secured for UK’s first water footprint database

A British sustainability company has received almost £80k of funding from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to develop the UK's first water footprint database for materials.

The company, Sustain, claims their database will for the first time, allow businesses to measure and manage the water footprints of their global supply chains.

Sustain claims that as water scarcity becomes a rapidly emerging concern and water related incidents present an increasing risk, businesses and the Government are starting to take notice of the strategic importance of water management.

This trend was echoed in the study ‘Why are business leaders prioritising sustainability?’ released by edie this month. It noted that by 2032, four times as many businesses could be at risk of flooding in the UK, and predicted that almost half (49%) of the survey respondents will be carrying out more detailed water footprint analysis by 2014.

Water footrprinting allows experts to measure and manage global water resources by identifying consumption in water scarce regions and assessing where it will cause the largest impacts. Water footprinting also helps to increase the visibility of water related risks within supply chains.

According to Sustain, the true UK water footprint is deceptive because the UK’s domestic consumption of water only covers 38% of its total footprint. The remaining 62% is consumed in countries around the world used in the supply chain for goods consumed in the UK such as imported food, clothes and materials.

Sustain principle associate and creator of the carbon (footprint) database – The Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE), Dr Craig Jones, said the footprint database would be the starting point for many businesses to begin dealing with the issues of water security.

Dr Jones said: “This database will be key in the development of successful water management strategies for businesses and Government bodies alike. To date, not enough is being done and this database will show companies where the risks lie within their supply chains, in order to manage the problem more efficiently.”

Conor McGlone

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