WHAT IS THATThe water footprint is a multidimensional indicator that quantifies the potential environmental impacts linked to water, in quantitative (volume) and qualitative terms, considering both direct and indirect water consumption and with a life cycle approach.
In a general context of growing water stress, and with particular reference to the problems of exploitation and pollution of groundwater in the Italian panorama, the Water Footprint (WF) is proposed as a useful means for:
• quantify and communicate environmental impacts,
• optimize the management of water resources and production processes.
The reference standard is UNI EN ISO 14046 " Impronta Idrica (Water Footprint)", which specifies the principles, requirements and guidelines relating to the assessment of the WF of products, processes and organizations based on the LCA methodology (Life Cycle Assessment).
CSQA verifies the Water Footprint studies against the reference standards and, in the event of a positive outcome, issues a certificate.
KEY POINTSThe water footprint, including the use and pollution of the resource along the entire supply chain , differs from the traditional concept of 'consumption', understood as a simple withdrawal.
A complete water footprint assessment is developed through:
• definition of objectives and scope of the study, illustrating the aims of the study, the applications and intended audiences, assumptions and boundaries in the system
• inventory phase , i.e. the phase of gathering and quantifying water-related inputs and outputs for products, processes and organizations
• assessment of the impact of WF, in which the impacts related to water are represented by one or more parameters that quantify the potential environmental impacts of a product, process or organization related to water
• interpretation of the results, which includes the identification, based on the results of the WF evaluation, of the significant aspects (e.g. processes, elementary flows, environmental mechanisms, etc.)
ADVANTAGESIt allows to:
• formulate more targeted environmental policies
• optimizing processes with the greatest impact on water resources
• strengthen the company's image nationally and internationally
• promote transparent information for consumers
Finally, the Water Footprint can constitute a significant complement to LCA and Carbon Footprint studies