Clean water is vital to life and one of our most precious resources, yet around 40% of the world’s population doesn’t have enough.
At the same time, we are our own worst enemy as over 80% of wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem neither treated nor reused.
The issue is widely recognized, which is why water features heavily in several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and governments and businesses are facing increasing pressure to limit their water use. In order to do this, however, they must first be able to measure it.
A new ISO handbook, ISO 14046 Environmental management – Water footprint - A practical guide for SMEs, developed in partnership with ITC, has just been published to help all kinds of organizations, in particular SMEs, better understand the standard and maximize the benefits that it offers.
The document targets practitioners from various backgrounds, such as large companies, public authorities, non-governmental organizations, academic and research groups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Its intention is not to detail and interpret each chapter of ISO 14046, but to provide practical guidance for carrying out a water footprint assessment.
This publication aims to help SMEs better understand the requirements of ISO 14046:2014, develop a sustainable approach to water use through the assessment of their water footprint, and to align their practices according to the International Standard.
Handbook co-author Sebastien Humbert said water footprinting is a relatively new type of assessment compared to others such as carbon footprinting and there are numerous methodologies with varying results.
“Having been developed with the involvement of thousands of contributors from around 60 countries and 20 non-governmental organizations, ISO 14046 provides international consensus on a common language for all interested parties, and provides a framework to measure the environmental impacts resulting from their water use.”
“This handbook helps organizations prepare for and undertake a water footprint assessment using ISO 14046, through practical guidance on not only the main clauses, but also those most open to interpretation.”
ISO 14046 Environmental management – Water footprint. A practical guide for SMEs is available from the ISO Store.