This is how we evaluate the Globalance Footprint with regard to water:
A negative Footprint causes
- A shortage of water, with especially dramatic consequences for already disadvantaged regions and people
- Depletion of fossil water reserves
- Political tensions over access to water reserves
- Gaps in energy supply, as water and energy are directly interrelated
(e.g. hydropower, cooling water).
A positive Footprint fosters
- Reduced water consumption
- Protection of groundwater
(especially fossil water sources)
- Increased water efficiency through closed circuits
- Sustainable water infrastructure (incl. treatment, transport, distribution, production)
- Safety of the drinking water supply
- Sufficient supply for agricultural use (70% of the global drawdown)
Your Footprint Map for the topic
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- Colours indicate the Footprint-Scores
- Field sizes indicate proportion of invested capital
The three best investments
The three investments with the best Footprint for this theme are:
Global Context: Water scarcity is a management problem
Food and commodities are very water intensive products. Virtual water content of products is an important measure of water consumption that often goes unnoticed by consumers.
What this chart tells us: Europe is one of the largest importers of virtual water
international virtual water flows through food and commodities trade are
illustrated for the decade between 1996 and 2005. The virtual-water content of
a product is defined as the freshwater ‘embodied’ in the product, not in real
sense, but in virtual sense. It refers to the volume of water consumed or
polluted for producing the product, measured over its full production chain. If
a nation exports/imports such a product, it exports/imports water in virtual
form. The graph was created by the British newspaper The Guardian, based on data
elaborated by Arjen Hoekstra and Mesfin Mekonnen in their 2012 publication „The
Water Footprint of Humanity”.
Globally, there is more than enough water to go round: the problem is that some countries get a lot more than others.
UN Human Development Report 2006
Challenge: Beyond local water scarcity
Is the stability of local water resources indicative of the water use by the residents of that area? To some extent it may be, but in many ways it isn‘t. Household utilization of water is almost negligible in comparison to the water we consume indirectly through products that have a high water-intensity.
Textiles, for example, are extremely water-intense products. The production of a single cotton T-shirt can use up to 2,700 litres of water according to the WWF.
Investment-Relevance: Scarcity affects prices
Water is becoming increasingly scarce globally. Global warming and changes in precipitation patterns are likely to accelerate this development even if water is managed more efficiently. With increasing scarcity, this resource will become more expensive, a development that is relevant in investment decisions.
The manufacturing process of most products will always depend on water inputs at some stage of the production chain. Companies that adapt their production processes to minimize water utilization close their water-cycles and think of alternative input materials with lower water intensity, are better prepared for this inevitable development.
140 litres of water are used to produce a standard single cup of coffee.
1% of the water on planet Earth is freshwater available to human beings. 97% is saltwater and 2% is trapped in ice.
555,000 litres of water are consumed indirectly by the average Swiss person every year through industrial goods. If we count water use for food products, the figure is close to 1.7 Million litres. Household usage is "only" 63,000 litres.
Relevant sources of guidance for the Globalance Footprint
Globalance Bank strives to look twice when assessing a firm‘s footprint in terms of water use. Sources like the Water Footprint Network and the Virtual Water Project help us in identifying what‘s really important when it comes to managing water use. Additionally we consider information and reports provided by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), other UN bodies, the WWF and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG).