Carbon Trust Launches Water Standard
Carbon reduction is no longer enough, according to the consultancy, with water the new frontier in the battle against climate change — and businesses globally are not acting fast enough. The new Carbon Trust Water Standard is intended to spur companies into measuring, managing and reducing their water use.
According to a Carbon Trust study of 475 senior executives of large companies in Brazil, China, South Korea, the UK and the US published late last year, only one in seven firms has set a target on water reduction, or publicly reported on water performance. Of those businesses that do see water as a priority risk, two-thirds listed water availability as an issue.
To achieve the Carbon Trust Water Standard organizations must:
- Measure water input from mains supply, surface water abstraction, groundwater abstraction and rainwater collection.
- Measure water output as trade effluent.
- Demonstrate reductions over time in both water inputs and wastewater produced. This can be done either in absolute terms, or in water intensity reduction in relation to turnover or product.
- Achieve a passing score of 60 percent on a qualitative assessment of water governance, measurement and management. This assessment includes a site visit.
Carbon Trust worked with Sainsbury’s, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Sunlight and Branston — the four companies that have already adopted the Carbon Trust Water Standard — to develop the methodology for the new standard.
Paul Crewe, Sainsbury’s head of sustainability, engineering, energy and environment, says the grocer will achieve its target of a 50 percent relative reduction in water use by the end of next month, from a 2005/6 baseline. The company achieved this through a number of water-saving measures that form part of its 20×20 Sustainability Plan, including eradicating underground leaks, installing pre-rinse spray taps and low-flush toilets in all of its stores and investing in rainwater harvesting.
Coca-Cola has implemented a number of water-saving measures including using ionized air instead of water to rinse product packages prior to filling, reusing treated wastewater for landscape irrigation and truck washing, and advanced monitoring of water use and efficiency. The company set a goal in 2008 to improve water efficiency systemwide by 20 percent by 2012, compared with a 2004 baseline. Coke achieved that goal in 2011.
Sunlight, a textile rental and laundry company, reduced its water usage by more than 12 percent between 2009 and 2011. The company says it achieved a reduction of more than 50 percent since 2005.
UK potato supplier Branston — which uses large volumes of water to wash the thousands of tons of potatoes it packs each year — invested in a membrane bioreactor water recycling plant for its Lincoln site. The plant has helped the company reduce water consumption by about 60 percent as well as reducing the quantity and improving the quality of the effluent leaving the site, Branston says.
The majority — 60 percent — of the world’s 250 largest companies lack a long-term water strategy, according to a KPMG analysis of corporate responsibility reports published in October 2012.
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