Newsletter October 2016




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Executive Director’s Note

I’m delighted to have been invited to participate in the first Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Global Water Stewardship Forum in November. As we work towards the Sustainable Development Goals, the need for robust and comparable global standards grows. By identifying what constitutes good water stewardship and setting a global standard, AWS provides a benchmark that not only creates an incentive for companies, but directs and drives positive action.

Water Footprint Network’s Global Water Footprint Assessment Standard sits in harmony with this standard. Together, they provide an aligned path for companies to progress towards becoming certified water stewards by using the latest data and advanced methodology to assess water use at facilities, in specific river basins and throughout their supply chains.
At the Global Water Stewardship Forum, we’ll be looking at how we can strengthen collaboration between water stewardship initiatives and sustainability standards. Individually, each provides strategic tools and guidelines to help companies map and measure risk, tackle demanding challenges and assess performance. Collectively, they become a vital resource driving companies to achieve positive outcomes while reliably monitoring progress across locations and sectors and identifying areas in need of further investment.
I look forward to a vibrant exchange of ideas on how we can continue to draw together international expertise and experience to advance these standards as a foundation for progress towards a fairer, more efficient and sustainable global society.

Ruth Mathews, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network







Upcoming Events

    AWS Global Water Stewardship Forum, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1st - 2nd November 2016

    The first Global Water Stewardship Forum will bring together pioneering water stewardship practitioners and promoters from around the world and offer a vibrant learning exchange on the latest developments in water stewardship. Hosted by AWS with support from the Scottish Government and the German Development Agency’s (GIZ) International Water Stewardship Program (IWaSP), it will provide a unique opportunity to explore experiences from implementing and promoting the AWS Standard and to work collaboratively and transparently for sustainable water management within a catchment context.

    Ruth Mathews will present at a session that will consider different approaches to water stewardship and examine how they and the AWS Standard can complement each other with a view to increasing collaboration. She will also moderate a table discussion on 'Access to socially robust information for AWS Standard implementation’. The session will explore how different data sources can contribute towards creating a shared, accepted view of the broader context within which water stewardship is applied.

    Read the event flyer here.
    Find out more and read the programme here.
    Register for the event here. The Forum is limited to 100 places and therefore it is advisable to register your attendance early.

    FAO’s LEAP Partnership: Water Footprinting Technical Advisory Group, Kigali, Rwanda, 14th - 18th November 2016

    Water Footprint Network’s Ashok Chapagain will attend this second face-to-face meeting of the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance Partnership (LEAP). Founded in 2012, LEAP involves stakeholders across the livestock sectors, all who share an interest in improving the environmental performance of livestock supply chains. The objective is to develop comprehensive guidance and methodology for understanding the environmental performance of livestock supply chains.

    The overarching goal of this initiative is to contribute to improved environmental performance of the livestock sector while considering social and economic viability. The Partnership will contribute towards the achievement of this goal by providing guidance on environmental assessments and their subsequent application. Water Footprint Network is part on the Technical Advisory Group that supports the implementation of the project’s work programme through the provision of technical and scientific expertise.
    Find out more about LEAP here.

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

    Our flagship 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. The 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.

    Read the agenda here and register here.
    Deadline for registration: 18th November 2016
    Early-bird discount: 28th October 2016

    E-learning Course: Water Footprint Assessment 1st – 21st December 2016

    Water Footprint Assessment: Concept and Application is an online foundation course facilitated by experts from the Water Footprint Network and the University of Twente. Developed with support of the World Bank Institute, it introduces Water Footprint Assessment and explains how it can be implemented and applied to inform decisions related to water policy and management. It examines how Water Footprint Assessment can help highlight the diverse benefits provided to people by fresh water and explores how those benefits might change under different management options, thus bringing scientific information into decisions in practical ways.

    Find out more about the course and register here.

    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.
    Find out more about this session here.
    Registration now on the AGU website.
    Deadline for registration: 3rd November.




Past Events

    Capacity building on Water Footprint Assessment for coffee mills, Punta Leona, Costa Rica, 19th – 20th September 2016

    Water Footprint Network’s Daniel Chico conducted a training in Water Footprint Assessment as part of the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) Support Project ‘Low-Emission Coffee Costa Rica’, promoted by the GIZ and Costa Rica Coffee Institute (ICAFE). The training focused on the water footprint of seven coffee mills. It was attended by 19 people, including participants from ICAFE and independent consultants.
    Costa Rica has the ambitious goal to become carbon neutral by 2021. Therefore, it has established a number of NAMAs to support the country´s efforts in tackling climate change and finding its own path toward low-carbon development. This project takes a sector specific approach and aims for a climate-friendly transformation of the entire value chain of coffee, one of the most important economic sectors in the country. It offers technical and policy advice to change production and processing practices in the sector, which is the source of 10 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
    For further information about the project see here.

    IMPREX 1st General Assembly, Crete, Greece 26th – 28th September 2016

    Water Footprint Network’s Ertug Ercin was one of 40 participants from 24 partner organisations that attended the first annual IMPREX meeting, a Horizon 2020 research project funded by the European Commission. The project aims to improve society’s ability to anticipate and respond to future hydrological extreme events in Europe.
    The goal of the meeting was to discuss the activities carried out in 2016, the progress of the project and tasks for the coming year. A special session was organised to present case studies for each work package in which the goals and content of the work was explained to project partners. A short summary of Water Footprint Network’s “Dependencies of European economy to the other parts of the world in terms of water resources” was presented as one of the highlights of the project in 2016.
    Read more about IMPREX here.

    Creative Commons: NASA Goddard







Water Footprint Network News

    • The Guardian sustainable business ran a follow up article on their recent water debate in which experts, including Water Footprint Network’s Ashok Chapagain, highlight six ways to ensure companies put water at the heart of their operations.
    • The Huffington Post featured a blog by Anna Koklanakis, Senior Global Brand Manager at Knorr, in which she talks about the company’s work with Water Footprint Network to help consumers make more responsible food choices by opting for food that requires less water to produce. She stresses that, while personal attitudes are important, “the bigger responsibility lies with us - food brands - to really make a difference”.
    • “Awareness raising on water footprint among farmers, companies and consumers will be key in reducing water footprints down to sustainable levels, since broad awareness is necessary to create the political will to make the transition needed,” said our founder and Professor in Water Management, Arjen Hoekstra, in an article by the Hindustan Times that cites Water Footprint Network data. The article examines the nation’s poor management of water, which experts warn is likely to result in further conflicts in the years to come.




Partner News

    Arjen Hoekstra joined BBC World Radio’s ‘The Forum’ to discuss water. In ‘Using Other People’s Water’ he was joined by Esther de Jong, who specialises in water usage in the developing world and scientific diver Henry Kaiser to discuss the idea that we urgently need to change industrial and agricultural practices to reduce our water footprint and avert a global crisis. Listen to the programme here.

    Congratulations to Made Blue - recognised for creating the most positive overall community impact by B the Change Media based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the independent non-profit B Lab. It has been honoured in the Best for the World list, which includes businesses that earned scores in the top 10 percent of more than 1,800 Certified B Corporations across all categories on the B Impact Assessment. The full assessment measures a company’s impact on its workers, community, customers and the environment. See the Best for the World list here.
    At Made Blue, we are extremely proud to have made it onto the Best for the World list for 2016, as it supports our mission of blending business and charity to maximize impact for a better world! For Made Blue, being a B Corp helps us spread the word about how we're aiming to do good by doing well. We're looking forward to bringing the company to the next level and realize access to clean water for more people on earth.”
    Machiel van Dooren, Social Entrepreneur.





    UN-Water’s report Water and sanitation interlinkages across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development analyses the central role of water and sanitation to sustainable development and describes the links and interdependencies between the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation and those of other Goals. It highlights the importance of mainstreaming water and sanitation in the policies and plans of other sectors, and how the management of interlinkages supports the social, economic and environmental dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    Blas, A.; Garrido, A.; Willaarts, B.A. Evaluating the Water Footprint of the Mediterranean and American Diets. Water 2016, 8, 448.
    Our partner, Water Observatory of the Botin Foundation and the Research Center for the Management of Environmental and Agricultural Risks (CEIGRAM) assessed and compared the water footprint of two recommended diets (Mediterranean and American), and evaluated the water savings of possible dietary shifts in two countries: Spain and the United States. The results show that the American diet has a 29% higher water footprint in comparison with the Mediterranean, regardless of the products’ origin. The study demonstrates that adopting diets based on a greater consumption of vegetables, fruits and fish, like the Mediterranean one, leads to major water savings.
    Owusu-Sekyere, E.; Scheepers, M.E.; Jordaan, H. Water Footprint of Milk Produced and Processed in South Africa: Implications for Policy-Makers and Stakeholders along the Dairy Value Chain. Water 2016, 8, 322.
    Our partner, University of the Free State, assessed the water footprint of milk produced and processed in South Africa using the methodology outlined in the Water Footprint Assessment Manual. The results show that 1352 m3 of water is required to produce one tonne of milk with 4% fat and 3.3% protein in South Africa. The findings provide the rationale for dairy producers and water users in the dairy industry to get an understanding of the degree of sustainability of their input and output combinations, production choices, and policy interventions, from the perspective of water use.
    Brueck, H.; Lammel, J. Impact of Fertilizer N Application on the Grey Water Footprint of Winter Wheat in a NW-European Temperate Climate. Water 2016, 8, 356.
    This study by researchers at Yara International ASA Institute of Crop Nutrition and Environmental Research used Nitrogen response trial data of winter wheat and analysed the relationship between mineral Nitrogen fertilizer application, grain yield, and the related grey water footprint. Results are discussed in the context of putative trade-offs between economic and environmental goals and finally with regard to regional variability in soil types, rainfall amount, and distribution. It concludes that site-specific fertilizer strategies which consider soil type, crop development, annual field water balance, in-season nutrient dynamics and crop rotational effects are key to minimize fertilizer‑induced leaching of Nitrogen into groundwater.
    Wang, C.; Traded water pollution rising faster than total footprint, environmentalresearchweb, October 2016.
    This study examines the grey water embodied in global imports and exports and finds that it has risen faster than the world’s overall grey water footprint. Wang’s group developed a multi-region computer model to track international supply chains and their associated grey water footprint for the period 1995 to 2009. They found that during this period, the EU and US effectively outsourced water pollution by importing goods with a high grey water footprint. Meanwhile, China in particular suffered from water scarcity by generating pollution in the production of goods for export. The study asserts that more attention should be paid to virtual trades in grey water footprint.








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