The Water Footprint Network welcomes ranking of water transparency




web version of this press release





Press Release

For immediate release: 14 April 2015

The Water Footprint Network welcomes ranking of water transparency of Dutch Stock-Listed

Companies Network’s partner organisations in top 5

Daegu & Gyeongbuk, Rep. of Korea: As the 7th International World Water Forum gets underway in South Korea, Water Footprint Network congratulates its partner organisations that were amongst the highest in a ranking guide for the transparency of water use, published today in the scientific journal, Sustainability (1).

The ranking was produced by Professor Arjen Hoekstra (2), Marissa Linneman and Royal HaskoningDHV, with support from Water Footprint Network and Worldwide Fund for Nature. It  assesses the transparency of 75 of the largest listed companies in the Netherlands, many of which are multi-nationals (3). 

Heineken tops the list with a transparency score of 43%, followed by Koninklijke DSM (23%), Akzo Nobel (21%), ASML Holding (20%) and Unilever (16%). The top 5 represent three different sectors (consumer goods, materials and technology) and are all listed on the Dutch stock exchange. 34 of the 75 companies scored 0%, showing that they are not at all transparent about their water consumption.

“As partners of the Water Footprint Network, Heineken, DSM and Unilever have learned about the importance of water to their business.  By doing a Water Footprint Assessment, these leading companies have the information needed to disclose their water use,” said Ruth Mathews, Executive Director of Water Footprint Network, speaking from the World Water Forum.

“Transparency is an important step towards water stewardship, yet almost half of the companies assessed failed to score at all.  We urge everyone to take action; it is clear that a lot more must be done by all sectors to improve their sustainability performance,” she added.

Overall, the ranking reveals a general lack of reporting and a wide variation in different sectors on how much they are willing to say about their water use. It also reveals that companies generally report more about their own operational activities than about their supply chain, where often there is the most water use.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) placed the water crises high on the agenda earlier this year. During the annual meeting of the CEOs of the world's largest companies, international politicians and intellectuals, water crises ranked highest on WEF’s global risk report.

“All over the world you see that the risks of high water consumption are increasingly being recognized, also in the corporate sector. The growing world population, changing consumer behaviour and climate change have considerable effect on the scarcity and quality of water. We developed this ranking to provide an incentive for companies to improve the water performance in their operations and supply chains," said Arjen Y. Hoekstra, Professor in Water Management at the University of Twente and co-author of the ranking.

Notes to editors:
  1. See the ‘Sustainability’ report here.
  2. Prof. Arjen Y. Hoekstra is the creator of the water footprint concept and initiator and co-founder of the Water Footprint Network. He is a member of the Water Footprint Network’s Supervisory Council.
  3. The ‘water ranking’ is based on public information from the annual and other reports of the 75 companies. It focuses on transparency and does not indicate whether the water consumption of the companies is good or bad. The water transparency was derived from the degree of openness about direct and indirect water consumption and what companies do to reduce their consumption. The researchers examined both the operational arm of the companies as well as the production chain in which they are situated. In these two areas companies were evaluated in terms of water consumption and contamination, comparisons with previous years and competitors in the same sector and targets set for water consumption.


At the World Water Forum in South Korea:
Ruth Mathews, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network
+31 (0) 6238 15408 email:

Professor Arjen Hoekstra, Professor in Water Management at the University of Twente
+31 (0) 6518 37251  email:





Water Footprint Network Contact



Horst Building
Room HR-W114
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands


+31 (0)53 4895383

Follow us on:
facebook twitter linkedin



Manage your subscription:


Send to a friend