Water Footprint Network Newsletter September 2016




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Executive Director’s note

A year on from the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), I attended the Work in Progress Workshop for the monitoring of the water related SDGs within the framework of GEMI. The workshop was hosted by UNESCO-IHE and organised by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment.
During the meeting, the ‘proof-of-concept’ countries reported back on their testing of the SDG 6 monitoring framework. Jordan, The Netherlands, Peru, Senegal and Uganda shared their current approach to SDG 6 monitoring in order to help improve the process by identifying what was working, what wasn’t, and where there remain gaps and challenges.  Break-out groups discussed the targets and associated indicators in detail with the aim to learn from the proof-of-concept countries and build a shared understanding of the indicators and how they are going to measure progress toward the SDGs.
I participated in the discussion on the indicators for water efficiency and sustainable basins. In considering the need for each country to demonstrate improvements in the pressure their economic activities put on water resources and the maintenance of ecosystem values, it’s evident that Water Footprint Assessment can facilitate achievement of the targets by providing clear analysis of the current baseline conditions, as well as the options going forward. Find out more about the event here and watch video interviews with some of the participants here.

The years of the SDGs will pass quickly and we all need to step up our collective efforts to achieve sustainable development. We’re committed to doing so by providing expertise, analysis and data and by strengthening collaboration within our Network. We invite all partners who haven’t yet responded to our survey questionnaire to do so. It’s an opportunity for you to help shape our partner programme by letting us know which activities you find most beneficial and what you’d like us to do to support you in the future.
Ruth Mathews, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network







Vacancy @ Water Footprint Network

    Water Footprint Network is seeking an exceptional person to lead our talented multi-cultural team as Executive Director. The successful applicant will be responsible for managing day-to-­day operations of the organisation and ensuring its long-term financial sustainability. If you’re an enthusiastic, dynamic and amiable person with strong management skills and a passionate commitment to sustainability, we invite you to apply. Deadline for applications is 30th September 2016. For more information about this vacancy see our website.




Upcoming events

    AGU Fall Meeting, San Fransisco, USA, 12th - 16th December 2016

    This is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world. Along with Arizona State University, Louisiana State University and University of the Free State, South Africa, Water Footprint Network will convene a session entitled ‘Linking water with economy: Examining emerging practices, policy and research in Water Footprint Assessment’. The session will primarily focus on: monitoring and achieving the water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); new data (e.g., use of Remote Sensing), tools and development indicators; water productivity and efficient water use, water related risk assessment and stewardship approaches; and practices and governance that contribute to sustainable, efficient, and equitable water use.
    Registration now on the AGU website. Deadline for registration: 3rd November.

    Global Water Footprint Standard Training Course, The Hague, The Netherlands 23rd - 24th November 2016

    Our two-day course, taught by top global experts in Water Footprint Assessment, is the highlight of our training agenda. Participants will learn about the latest innovations in water footprint research and application. You will gain experience in using Water Footprint Assessment in a range of applications, from calculating the water footprint of agriculture, industry or domestic water use at all scales, to assessing its sustainability, and using these results to identify the priority strategic actions for companies, governments, non-profit organisations and individuals.

    This course is valuable for everyone involved in water and environmental resources management. Taught in an interactive way, there will be plenty of opportunity for discussion and personalised attention.

    For further information, please contact







Past events

    Water Footprint Network @ 2016 World Water Week in Stockholm, Stockholm City Conference Centre, 28th August – 2nd September, 2016

    Water Footprint Network presented lessons learned from three tailored water risk assessments that it completed in 2016 at ‘Water to fuel business growth ‘, co-convened by World Wildlife Fund, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Deloitte and DHI Group. The risk assessments were conducted for the operations and supply chains for four companies in Turkey, the client portfolio for an investor and the global portfolio of IHG. The results of these projects indicate that the design of a water stewardship programme must reflect the business model of the company or investor, be adaptive to changing external stakeholder expectations, best practice and best available technologies and incorporate new risks and opportunities as they evolve over time. See the presentation here.

    Water Footprint Network @ UN ESCAP roundtable on water scarcity, United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok, 25th – 26th August 2016

    Ruth Mathews’ presentation “Addressing Water Risks through Responsible Business Practices” shared how Water Footprint Network can help the resort industry in southeast Asia deal with growing water scarcity and more frequent droughts by supporting them in developing comprehensive water stewardship programmes. Global brands and local hotels were in attendance and shared their experiences with managing their hotels under water scarce and drought conditions. The water stewardship business case was strongest when ocean and freshwater natural features were important to hotel guests and public services were limited. Read more about this event here.




Water Footprint Network news

    • “The smaller the supply chain, the easier it is to address the issue. We’ve worked with global retailers sourcing, for example, cane sugar from farms located in more than 200 different river basins around the world. It is a challenge to act efficiently unless you prioritise regions in a logical order,” said Dr. Ashok Chapagain, Science Director for Water Footprint Network, as he discussed the need for prioritisation in The Guardian debate on how companies can cut their water footprint, held on August 23rd. Read a summary of points raised in the debate here.
    • IHG®, one of the world’s leading hotel companies, celebrated World Water Week by providing detail on the progress made with its leading global Water Stewardship Programme, as well as a number of other water-related initiatives. In partnership with Water Footprint Network, IHG has mapped its global estate of more than 5,000 open properties and the majority of its pipeline hotels against risks related to both water quantity and water quality. Together, we have also identified the actions needed to address these risks. Our detailed analysis provides the foundation for IHG to take the next steps in its journey towards water sustainability. We will continue to work together to develop tailored water stewardship action plans for individual hotels based on the specific challenges they face locally, and include considerations such as maturity of the property, the type and level of risk and the business case for tackling it. Read more here.
    • International Tourism Partnership has announced a major step forward in the hotel industry’s stewardship of water, with the launch of the industry’s first co-ordinated and consistent water measurement tool - Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI). Eighteen global hotel groups HWMI is the industry’s response to leading stakeholder concerns that one of the most pressing global issues hotels need to address is their consumption of water, and the understanding that ‘what gets measured gets managed’. Consistent measurement is the first step necessary to enable hotels to report and benchmark – and ultimately reduce – water consumption. The methodology and tool are free to download and use by any hotel no matter its size, type or location. Read more here.
    • Water Footprint Network welcomes our new partner, Russian Rahan Iranian (Russian Register), the largest and most recognised Russian independent Certification Body for management systems, products and personnel certification.




Partner News

    • Swedish Water House (SIWI), together with Swedish food and beverage companies, has produced a useful compilation of water tools, standards and certifications sets. The results are presented on a website which features our Water Footprint Assessment Tool.


    • Food producer Knorr, one of our partner Unilever’s sustainable living brands, has launched a new behaviour change campaign to drive awareness of the "hidden" water waste in food production. Using data from our product gallery, it has provided 3 key tips to help you make more responsible food choices, including a handy list of fresh food alternatives that require less water to produce. Read more here.

    • DNV GL has launched a new app to help put yours and your family’s footprint into perspective. The app asks you to answer questions on your consumption in 5 categories: eat, drink, wash, charge and travel. It then provides your footprint score. You can also use it to see how your performance compares to other app users. “SustainableI® is built to help you understand your carbon and water footprint, its complexity and where your biggest impact is…If you accept any of the SustainableI challenges, they will help guide you in how to make changes that can positively impact your footprint”, explains Luca Crisciotti, CEO in DNV GL - Business Assurance. Read more here.





    Servicios Ambientales and Foundation for Latin American Future (2015) Footprint of cities project, synthesis report. The City Footprint Project seeks to incorporate environmental and management tools into activities of municipal governments as well as the private sector and citizens in general, giving them access to technical and methodological tools that aid in the identification, prioritisation and development of actors that contribute to adaptation to climate change and the reduction of the carbon footprint and water footprint. This report provides a summary of the carbon and water footprint results for three Andean cities – La Paz, Quito and Lima. It outlines recommended actions and ways forward towards climate compatible development strategies.








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Water Footprint Network · Horst Building, Drienerlolaan 5 · Enschede, 7522 NB · Netherlands