Corporate Water Footprinting: Why is it important? (Part 2) 2

Water scarcity represents an ever growing risk to businesses in all sectors across the globe.  Business related water risk can be categorized into three areas: Physical, Regulatory, and Reputational. 

Physical risk refers to the direct limitation of business activities, supply of raw materials, and product use. Declines or disruptions in water supply can affect production, irrigation, material processing, cooling, and cleaning. Reputational Risk deals with competition for water supply (especially in water-strained areas), and can lead to community or local unrest regarding water withdrawal.

Regulatory Risk is directly caused by a combination of water scarcity and concern in local communities, and often forces local authorities to take action by allocating water, increasing prices, setting permitting standards, and developing rigorous wastewater quality standards.

The CDP Water Disclosure Global Report 2011 highlights some key statistics regarding water and the Global 500:

  • 59% of respondents cited water as a substantial risk to the company, while water-related risk has already impacted  1/3 of the reporting businesses. 
  • 63% of respondents identified opportunities including cost reductions and increased water efficiency, revenue from new water-related products or services, and improved brand value.
  • Less than 50% of respondents identified water policy as a board level issue, indicating that water is receiving less attention than climate change and energy conservation.  

Large companies throughout the world are aware of various water related risks, and recognize that there is opportunity for improvement, but water scarcity is still not receiving the attention it deserves. Corporate water footprinting can be an appropriate step in identifying these risks and opportunities to mitigate potential problems surrounding this limited resource.  

Please visit  our blog next week as we discuss corporate water footprinting and sustainability.

Corporate Water Footprinting: Why is it important? (Part 1) 2

Water is a scarce natural resource, often misunderstood and undervalued.  As we have come to recognize the dangers associated with climate change and energy security, the availability of water also concerns individuals, communities, and businesses on a global scale. The unsustainable rates of carbon emissions and water consumption are directly linked to population growth and industrial activity. However, water supply is also threatened by climate change as precipitation patterns and water availability change. 

While many companies voluntarily report on carbon emissions and energy usage, measuring and reporting water usage across the supply chain (corporate water footprinting) can be more difficult. Water has effects both locally and globally – extraction and usage greatly depend on the source and the geographic location. It is important for businesses to understand potential threats and opportunities specific to water usage.  

The Carbon Disclosure Project touts the importance of corporate water footprinting for many reasons: to highlight areas of risk and opportunity for businesses; to develop standard measurements and assessments; to provide transparency; to raise awareness about water concerns; and to ultimately encourage action and dialogue.

Each week, we will post a related blog to this site to inform our readers about important sustainability topics. Next week our blog will focus on the business related aspects of corporate water footprinting.  To subscribe, please enter your email address into the “email subscription” box on the right. You will be notified by email as new posts are made to the site.

For more information, please contact Wayne Bates at 508.970.0033 ext. 121 or

Carbon Disclosure Project – Reporting Dates Released Reply

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an independent, not-for-profit organization which works to drive greenhouse gas emissions reduction and sustainable water use by business and cities. For those that participate, the CDP has posted its guidelines and dates for carbon, water, and supply chain reporting. The CDP will also be posting information on how to access the Online Response System (ORS) for each of these programs. CAPACCIO will continue to track the CDP for updates and will send along the ORS information as soon as it becomes available.

Carbon Reporting

–          Guidelines available                        January 2012

–          ORS instructions to be sent         early February 2012

–          Reports due                                    May 31, 2012

Water Reporting

–          Guidelines available                       January 2012

–          ORS instructions to be sent         February 2012

–          Reports due                                    June 30, 2012

Supply Chain Reporting

–          Guidelines available                       January 2012

–          ORS instructions to be sent         early April 2012

–          Reports due                                    July 31, 2012

Additional reporting information on each program, as well as past reports, are available on the CDP website:

For more information or assistance in preparing reports, please contact Wayne Bates, PhD, PE, at 508.970.0033 ext. 121 or

Is Sustainability Obsolete or Does it Just Need a Tune-up? Reply

Jachen Zeitz, CEO of Puma, said “Sustainability has been slammed as an obsolete idea and only the starting point for companies and brands to play their part in helping the environment, social well being and economic prosperity.”  At the Boldness in Business Award Ceremony on March 16th he added, “We need a fundamental paradigm shift in the way we think and act beyond sustainability.”  His point was that we cannot and should not delegate sustainability responsibility to one department.  He emphasized that many shareholders are beginning to ask companies to behave in even more sustainable ways.  “A bold business is one that takes sustainability into the center of its vision and mission.”

At CAPACCIO, we have been making the argument that sustainability must become part of every business decision and part of how every employee does their job, day-in and day-out.  This is best accomplished by integrating sustainability into an overarching management system – a sustainability management system.  By creating an integrated management system with the social responsibility guidance from ISO 26000, a company will go a long way toward making sustainability part of our daily tasks. 

There are still countless publications addressing how different functional managers can address sustainability within the sphere of their control.  It would be more productive to have these functional managers work together in a strong governance position to make sure that sustainability is indeed integrated into the fabric of the business.  Instead of busting the silos as some pundits suggest, it is best to enable each specialized service to collectively use their skill to enable everyone to participate in this very important effort.  Management review has long been a requirement in ISO 14001.  The sustainability governance works on the same principle and enables all people to participate in the plan-do-check-act nature of sustainability in their business.