/ Managing Water Footprints: a Key Challenge for North American Beverage Companies
Opinion Column - 01/07/2014
Managing Water Footprints: a Key Challenge for North American Beverage Companies
Vigeo’s review of the North American Beverage sector has been recently updated. Our findings reveal that the majority of companies analysed provide evidence that they have identified the management of water resources as a critical sustainability topic for the sector.
Water is not only used as an ingredient in beverage products, but also as a major input during manufacturing processes (such as cleaning) and during agricultural production. According to the Water Footprint Network, on average, 340 to 620 litres of water are necessary to produce 1 litre of soda, while around 300 litres are needed to make 1 litre of beer.
Over 77% of the companies in our review report to take steps to reduce their water consumption, while over 88% report to address water emissions. Out of these companies, all report measures within their own manufacturing processes. However, Vigeo’s analysts have identified that around 40% do not appear to tackle agricultural water use. Agriculture accounts for the biggest water footprint in this sector and globally, agricultural processes entail 92% of the world’s water consumption (according to UNESCO’s Institute for Water Education).