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Main Title: Organizational water footprint: a methodological guidance
Author(s): Forin, Silvia
Mikosch, Natalia
Berger, Markus
Finkbeiner, Matthias
Type: Article
Is Part Of: 10.14279/depositonce-11296
Language Code: en
Abstract: Purpose This paper proposes a practical methodological approach to assess the water footprint at the organizational level, in line with the current development of life-cycle based approaches toward the organizational scale on the one hand and footprint metrics on the other hand. This methodological development allows for organizational water footprint applications intended to inform management decisions and to alleviate water-related environmental impacts throughout the supply chain. Methods ISO 14046, dedicated to water footprint with a major focus on products, and ISO/TS 14072 for organizational LCA (O-LCA) are compared. A set of indications to carry out an organizational water footprint is identified based on: the requirements common to water footprint and organizational LCA; complementary methodological elements specified in only one of the standards; solutions to issues identified as conflicting. Additional application guidance on data collection prioritization for organizational water scarcity footprint studies is delivered based on the review of existing organizational case studies and comparative product or commodity studies. Results and discussion O-LCA and water footprint provide complementary requirements for the scoping phase and the inventory and impact assessment phase respectively, according to the different methodological foci. We identify conflicting or contradictory requirements related to (i) comparisons, (ii) system boundary definition, and (iii) approaches to avoid allocation. We recommend (i) avoiding comparisons in organizational water footprint studies, (ii) defining two-dimensional system boundaries (“life-cycle dimension” and “organizational dimension”), and (iii) avoiding system expansion. Additionally, when carrying out a water scarcity footprint for organizations, we suggest prioritizing data collection for direct activities, freshwater extraction and discharge, purchased energy, metals, agricultural products and biofuels, and, if water or energy consuming, the use phase. Conclusions The standards comparison allowed compiling a set of requirements for organizational water footprints. Combined with the targeted guidance to facilitate data collection for water scarcity footprint studies, this work can facilitate assessing the water footprint of organizations throughout their supply chains.
Issue Date: 28-Aug-2019
Date Available: 7-Apr-2021
DDC Class: 628 Sanitär- und Kommunaltechnik; Umwelttechnik
Subject(s): corporate footprints
data collection prioritization
organizational LCA
organizational water footprint
supply chain management
water footprint
water scarcity
Sponsor/Funder: BMBF, 02WGR1429A, GROW - Verbundprojekt WELLE: Wasserfußabdruck für Unternehmen - Lokale Maßnahmen in Globalen Wertschöpfungsketten, Teilprojekt 1
Journal Title: International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Publisher: Springer
Publisher Place: Heidelberg
Volume: 25
Publisher DOI: 10.1007/s11367-019-01670-2
Page Start: 403
Page End: 422
EISSN: 1614-7502
ISSN: 0948-3349
Appears in Collections:FG Technischer Umweltschutz / Sustainable Engineering » Publications

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