Supply Chain School

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Parts of the UK suffer from water scarcity - the South East of England has less water available per person than the Sudan or Syria. However this represents just part of the problem; many developed countries such as the UK have significantly externalised their water footprint, importing water-intensive goods from elsewhere. This puts pressure on the water resources in the exporting regions, where too often mechanisms for wise water governance and conservation are lacking.

Responsible developers and contractors are now not only measuring and reporting on the usage of potable water on site as part of the construction phase but on the water footprint of their supply chains and the materials they use and also of the water efficiency of end-users of the buildings. The Government has a target of reducing water consumption by 20% per person by 2030. This has been addressed in the recently updated Part G of the Building Regulations as well as in the Code for Sustainable Homes.

In most organisations your own organisational water footprint will be small compared to that of your supply chain - it is therefore crucial that your company address that as well. The Water Footprint Network (WFN) has published a methodology to quantify water consumption and risks across the value chain using the term water footprinting. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is drafting water footprint requirements and guidelines under ISO 14046.

A product water footprint is the total volume of freshwater consumed, directly and indirectly, to produce a product. A full water footprint assessment considers the impacts of this water consumption on local watersheds, as well as appropriate response strategies to minimize those impacts.

Self Assessment Tool

Re-assessing and working through your new action plan will support your journey of continuous improvement in sustainability. You can re-assess at any time and access an updated action plan.