If your company has realized a biodiversity footprint assessment, what is the impact on water m3?

  • Radia Guira

Please quantify two sub-pressures of water pollution :
– Freshwater Ecotoxicity (related to the release of toxic compounds into freshwater)
– Plastic Entanglement (related to marine species)
Freshwater ecotoxicity is caused by the release of artificial organic or inorganic chemicals into ecosystems, also called toxic compounds (Tox), into the environment by companies. Plastic entanglement refers to marine organisms entrapped in plastics which leads to death or impaired movement or growth.
Please include water withdrawal + water consumption.

This question aims to discern if your company has performed an evaluation of its biodiversity footprint, focusing on its impact on water quantity, measured in cubic meters (m3). In other words, it seeks to uncover how your company’s operations influence water resources, factoring in both consumption and contamination. This information is crucial in foreseeing the potential risks and opportunities your company might face in its environmental sustainability journey, particularly in its water stewardship efforts. To respond accurately, you should provide quantitative data representing your company’s total influence on water resources due to its biodiversity footprint.

For an example response, consider the following: « Yes, our company has conducted a biodiversity footprint assessment. Our activities impact approximately 5,000 m3 of water annually. » This quantifies water management related to the company’s biodiversity footprint, offering clear insights into the company’s environmental practices.

Understanding the Biodiversity Footprint Assessment

Before delving into the specifics of how a biodiversity footprint assessment impacts water in cubic meters (m3), it’s necessary to understand what this type of assessment entails. A biodiversity footprint assessment is a comprehensive analysis that evaluates the effects of a company’s operations on various ecosystems and species. It measures the pressure exerted by a company on biodiversity through its direct and indirect activities. The assessment can cover various domains, such as land use, pollution, resource extraction, and waste generation. Understanding the assessment process is crucial for companies aiming to mitigate their environmental impact and improve their ESG scores.

Organizations seeking guidance on conducting a biodiversity footprint assessment can refer to comprehensive resources such as the white paper provided by Schneider Electric and CDC Biodiversité, which details methodologies and best practices. Moreover, case studies, like the one from Schneider Electric, offer real-world insights into how companies have implemented biodiversity footprint assessments and the lessons learned from these experiences.

Impact on Water Resources

When a company completes a biodiversity footprint assessment, one of the key environmental aspects it examines is water usage. The impact on water resources is typically reported in cubic meters, which helps quantify the volume of water that is either consumed or affected by the company’s operations. This includes direct usage, such as water withdrawn for manufacturing processes, and indirect impact, such as water pollution or alterations to water bodies that affect their ecological balance.

To accurately measure the impact on water, companies must consider both qualitative and quantitative factors. This includes the volume of water used, the sources of water, and the potential contaminants introduced into water systems. Companies can also assess the impact of water usage on local communities and ecosystems, such as changes in water availability for wildlife or alterations to aquatic habitats.

An assessment might reveal that certain practices are unsustainable or harmful, leading to strategies focused on reducing water consumption, improving water management, and investing in technologies that minimize water pollution. The draft report on biodiversity metrics for business offers further insights into how companies can measure and interpret their impact on water and biodiversity.

Improving ESG Scores through Water Stewardship

An organization’s commitment to reducing its biodiversity footprint, particularly concerning water resources, can significantly enhance its ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) score. An improved ESG score not only reflects a company’s commitment to sustainability but can also have tangible benefits such as increased investor confidence, better brand reputation, and potential financial incentives.

After conducting a biodiversity footprint assessment, companies should implement strategies to manage their water impact more effectively. This may involve initiatives like rainwater harvesting, recycling wastewater, or setting up conservation projects that help restore local water-related ecosystems. Such actions demonstrate to stakeholders that the company is taking proactive steps towards biodiversity conservation and sustainable water management.

Taking responsibility for water usage also shows a company’s commitment to the ‘Social’ aspect of ESG, considering the social implications of water scarcity, and ensuring that operations do not negatively impact community water supplies. Moreover, from a governance perspective, it reflects a company’s adherence to policies and regulations concerning water conservation and biodiversity protection, which can further reinforce its ESG credentials.

In conclusion, the impact of a biodiversity footprint assessment on water resources is multifaceted, affecting not just the environment but also the social and governance aspects of a company’s operations. By thoroughly understanding and mitigating their impact on water, companies can improve their ESG scores and contribute to the global effort of preserving our planet’s biodiversity for future generations.