Water intensity

  • Radia Guira

Formula:
‘Water consumption’/’Total revenue covered by environmental reporting’
Indicator automatically calculated.

« Water Intensity » is a question related to the overall water efficiency of a company. This metric measures the amount of water used in comparison to the overall output or productivity. This indicates how much water each unit of production consumes, thus revealing how « intense » or heavy the company’s reliance on water resources is.

1) « What is your total water consumption annually? » – This question is about the total amount of water that the company consumes in a year. It helps to understand the magnitude of the water usage. (Example: Our total annual water consumption is 1,500 cubic meters)

2) « What is the total output or productivity of your company annually? » – This question is asking for the total unit of production or services delivered by the company in a year. This data will serve as the denominator in the water intensity calculation. (Example: Our total annual output/productivity is 1,000 units)

From the answers to these questions, the water intensity can be calculated as follows: Water Intensity = Total water consumption annually / Total output or productivity annually. This will give an idea of the amount of water used per unit of output, thus indicative of the company’s commitment towards conserving water resources.

Understanding Water Intensity in the ESG Framework

Water intensity is a crucial metric in assessing the environmental aspect of the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) criteria. Understanding and properly measuring water intensity is essential for any business that aims to improve its ESG score and promote sustainable practices. Water intensity refers to the volume of water used in relation to a specific unit of production, such as per ton of product or per dollar of revenue generated. It serves as an indicator of how efficiently a company utilizes water, which is an increasingly valuable resource. To begin your assessment, familiarize yourself with the concept of water intensity by visiting the OECD’s guidelines on the matter.

Calculating Your Company’s Water Intensity

To accurately calculate your company’s water intensity, you will need to gather detailed data on water usage across your operations. This includes direct usage, such as water used in manufacturing processes, and indirect usage, which can include water consumption embedded within the materials and services you utilize. Start by compiling water usage data from utility bills, water meters, or process monitoring systems. Then, determine the appropriate production or financial metric to compare this against. Detailed instructions and methodologies for this calculation can be found in the United Nations guide, which can be accessed here. Remember, consistency in the units you use for both water and production values is key to a valid water intensity figure.

Improving Your Water Intensity Score

Improving your water intensity score is not just beneficial for the environment but can also lead to cost savings and a better corporate image. To enhance your score, start by identifying areas of high water usage and evaluate potential efficiencies or alternative processes. Implementing water-saving technologies, recycling water, or using water more efficiently can all lead to significant improvements. For a comprehensive guide on effective strategies to reduce water intensity, HydroPoint’s blog is an excellent resource. Moreover, engaging with stakeholders and educating your workforce about the importance of water conservation can foster an organizational culture that prioritizes sustainable water use.

In conclusion, managing and improving water intensity is a significant step towards enhanced ESG performance. By understanding, calculating, and working to improve your water intensity, your organization can demonstrate its commitment to sustainability, potentially lower operational costs, and improve its reputation among consumers and investors alike. The process can be challenging, but with the right approach and resources, it is an achievable and rewarding endeavor.