Please indicate the amount of water, in cubic metres, withdrawn from all sources.

  • Radia Guira

Water sources include surface water (including water from wetlands, rivers, lakes and oceans), groundwater, rainwater collected directly and stored by the entity, and water and wastewater obtained from municipal water supplies, water utilities or other entities.

This question is soliciting information pertaining to the total volume of water that your company has withdrawn from all sources. This is inclusive of all types of extraction processes such as the drawing of water from natural bodies like lakes and rivers, as well as manmade reservoirs or underground aquifers.

The data is expected to be relayed in the unit of cubic metres, an international standard for measuring volume. This measure helps understand a company’s water footprint, rendering it essential for analyzing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) score.

(Example: Our company withdrew a total of 20,000 cubic metres of water last year from various sources including the local river and our onsite borehole.)

Understanding Water Withdrawal and Its Importance for ESG Scoring

Water is one of the most critical resources for life on Earth and its management is a key component of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations. When a company assesses its ESG performance, understanding and reporting the amount of water withdrawn from natural sources is essential. This information not only reflects the direct impact a company has on the environment but also helps stakeholders to evaluate the sustainability and efficiency of its operations. Before you can accurately report on your company’s water withdrawal, it’s crucial to understand what water withdrawal means and why it matters.

Water withdrawal refers to the removal of water from any natural source or reservoir—such as rivers, lakes, or groundwater—for human use. This can include water used for agricultural irrigation, industrial processes, domestic consumption, and more. The amount of water withdrawn can significantly affect local ecosystems, alter water cycles, and lead to challenges such as water scarcity or stress, which you can read more about at Our World in Data. It’s not just about the volume of water used; how and where water is withdrawn, and whether it’s returned to its source, are also factors that can impact ESG scoring.

Measuring and Reporting Your Water Withdrawal Accurately

To calculate your company’s water withdrawal accurately, it is important to measure the volume of water removed from all sources. This includes surface water like rivers and lakes, groundwater from wells, and any other water sources that your company relies on. Remember to consider water used in all aspects of your operation, including production, cooling, sanitation, and more.

Once you’ve gathered data on the water usage, it should be reported in cubic meters, the standard unit for such measurements. This allows for consistency when comparing water use data across different organizations and regions. For guidance on how to measure and report on water withdrawals, the OECD provides valuable resources and methodologies, which can be found at OECD Library. When measuring water withdrawal, ensure that your company’s reporting aligns with international standards and best practices to maintain credibility and transparency with your stakeholders.

It’s also beneficial to include contextual information in your reporting, such as the water stress levels of the regions from which you’re withdrawing water. This can be determined by comparing your water withdrawal data with global or regional benchmarks, which you can find in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicators, particularly SDG 6.4.2, available at United States SDG Data Hub. Adding such context helps stakeholders understand the potential impact of water withdrawal beyond just the volume used.

Best Practices for Managing and Reducing Water Withdrawal

Once you have accurately calculated and reported your company’s water withdrawal, it’s important to look at ways to manage and reduce this impact. Implementing water-saving technologies, recycling water within processes, and shifting toward water-efficient practices can significantly reduce water withdrawal. This not only improves your company’s ESG score but also contributes to a more sustainable future for everyone.

Educating employees about the importance of water conservation and involving them in the implementation of water-saving initiatives can foster a culture of sustainability within your organization. Additionally, actively seeking ways to replenish the water sources you’ve accessed—for example, through initiatives such as creating wetlands or supporting local water conservation projects—can mitigate the negative effects of water withdrawal and enhance your ESG credentials.

In summary, accurately measuring and reporting on water withdrawal is a fundamental step for any company committed to ESG principles. By understanding the implications of water use, measuring it accurately, and implementing strategies to manage and reduce it, you can ensure that your organization contributes positively to water sustainability. Remember, as global awareness of water-related issues grows, so does the importance of responsible water management in the eyes of your stakeholders, consumers, and the wider community.

For Matter, helping you calculate your ESG score with precision is our priority. By following the steps and best practices outlined in this article, you can complete your questionnaires with the confidence that you are contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally responsible business world. If you have any questions or need further assistance with your ESG reporting, feel free to reach out to our team of experts.