Performance

 

Understanding water performance (how much water companies use, how efficiently they use it, and so on) helps companies adopt more sustainable water management practices that minimize negative impacts (or create positive impacts), mitigate water-related business risks, and capture opportunities.

Here we provide guidance to help companies describe their water performance in quantitative, geographicallyexplicit terms that allow disclosure audiences to understand how a company withdraws, consumes, and discharges water resources.

Content Scope Format
Basic
  • Profile metric: Water withdrawals inwater-stressed or water-scarce areas
  • Profile metric: Percent of facilities adhering to relevant water quality standards
  • Profile metric: Average water intensity in water-stressed or water-scarce areas (as appropriate)s
  • Percent of facilities with fully functioning WASH services for all workers
Companywide Tabular; quantitative
Advanced(includes basic reporting) Location-specific
  • Water performance in the value chain
Value chain

BASIC

Total and percentage of withdrawals located in water-stressed or water-scarce areas

Companywide water withdrawals are often the first and only water metric that companies disclose. Given that withdrawals will present different risks and impacts depending on the conditions in which they occur, basic disclosers should report the volume and percentage of their withdrawals that occur in water-scarce or water-stressed areas. Companies can use the process described above in the Context subsection to assess water scarcity and water stress.

Percent of facilities adhering to relevant water quality standards

Because water quality is informed and influenced by a variety of parameters (e.g., BOD, COD, levels of phosphorous and heavy metals, temperature, etc.), meaningful quantification and reporting on this issue is often elusive. Basic reporters manage this challenge by reporting the percent of their facilities adhering to one of the following types of water quality standards or benchmarks:

  • Sector-specific industrial wastewater standard
  • Internally developed wastewater quality standard
  • Universal industrial wastewater standard (not yet developed)
  • Primary, secondary, or tertiary treatment [1]

When reporting compliance against a specific wastewater standard, it is essential that a company describes which parameters are assessed and the thresholds required to achieve compliance with each parameter.

Average water intensity in water-stressed or water-scarce areas

Companywide water intensityprovides insight into the efficiency of a company’s water use. Improvements in intensity over time are a strong indication that the company is taking meaningful steps to improve its water management. Efficiency is most important in water-scarce and water-stressed areas, where companies are most likely to face risks or create impacts.

One way to report intensity is by using product water intensity (water withdrawal per unit of product). This is a meaningful metric for companies in sectors with discrete product outputs such as the food, beverage, or automobile industries. However, it is not as relevant for companies with diversified product portfolios or companies in service-oriented sectors. These companies may prefer instead to use financial water intensity (water withdrawal per dollar revenue).

Percent of facilities with fully functioning WASH services for all workers

Providing consistent access to adequate WASH services in the workplace [2] for all workers is critical in avoiding human rights impacts and fulfilling the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. Companies can report this issue by enumerating the percent of owned-and-operated facilities that offer access to fully functioning and consistently maintained drinking water and sanitation services to all workers.

ADVANCED

Location-specific performance data

Advanced reporters provide information on their water performance in specific geographic locations (see “Geographic/geopolitical scale of reporting”). Since many large companies have dozens, if not hundreds, of facilities across the world, companies may choose to report data only for the hot spots listed in their high-level assessment of basins (see Section 5: Context).

Location-specific performance data include the following:

  • Water withdrawals by source type:
    Some advanced disclosers break down withdrawal data according to source type, including surface water,groundwater (renewable and nonrenewable), municipal water, recycled water, runoff, saltwater, andwastewater. Distinguishing between source types allows audiences to better understand the risks and impacts associated with a company’s water performance.
  • Water intensity
  • Water consumption
  • Water discharge by destination type:
    Companies are also well served to report their water discharge on a location-specific basis. Discharge has two key components: quantity and quality. Quantity is important because companies must be able to quantify the volumes of polluted water discharged to receiving bodies in order to understand their negative impacts. Quality is also a key component of discharge but very difficult to disclose meaningfully. Discharge water quality varies significantly by industry. Advanced disclosers understand the water quality parameters of concern in their industry and focus their water qualitydisclosure on those metrics.

Water performance in the value chain

Advanced reporters consider both water performance in their direct operations as well as their indirect water footprint in order to fully understand how their business relates to water and their exposure to risks. Reporting on this topic involves a few different considerations. First, a company accounts forits total withdrawals (including direct and indirect) in water-scarce or water-stressed areas and then breaks this down into various value chain stages by percentage of total withdrawals. The reported value chain stages may vary from sector to sector but should at a minimum include supply chain, direct operations, and product use.

Companies can also report water consumption in their value chain, the percent of suppliers that adhere to relevant water quality standards (while making sure to describe the nature of the standards reported against), and the percent of suppliers with improved WASH services implemented and consistently maintained, much in the same way they do for their direct operations.

Companies that have difficulty obtaining value chain data make estimations by extrapolating data from a subset of suppliers. Companies should report the percent of their suppliers from which they are able to obtain data in order to provide insight into the reliability of their report information, as well as the extent to which they are able to robustly assess value-chain-related risks, opportunities, and impacts.

“BAXTER: 2013 SUSTAINABILITY REPORT”
Water issues vary significantly by location. Baxter used the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Global Water Tool in 2012 to evaluate the availability of renewable water resources at Baxter’s 51 largest water-consuming locations, which represent more than 96% of the company’s total water use. Twelve of those sites are located in water-scarce* areas, 11 in water-stressed* areas and 28 in water-sufficient areas.

(Availability of renewable water supplies evaluated using the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Global Water Tool. Water-scarce areas have less than 1,000 cubic meters of renewable water supply per person per year. Water-stressed areas have at least 1,000 cubic meters but less than 1,700 cubic meters. Water-sufficient areas have at least 1,700 cubic meters.)”

“INTEL: 2013 CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY REPORT”
(Recreate part of graph on pg. 61, http://csrreportbuilder.intel.com/PDFFiles/CSR_2013_Full-Report.pdf)

“OLAM: CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY & SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2013”
“This year we completed the first water footprint of Olam’s business, encompassing our 55 Tier 1 facilities, our own plantations, concessions and farms, as well as our farmer suppliers. The water consumption this year at our 55 Tier 1 facilities was measured as 4.6 million m³. Olam’s company farms and plantations had a water footprint measuring approximately 350 million m³, largely from our almond orchards and rice farm.

Water consumption last year by Olam’s farmer suppliers was estimated6 at 26.3 billion m³ per year, comprising 25 billion m³ of rainwater and 1.3 billion m³ of surface and ground water. Olam’s greatest business-related water impacts and risks therefore clearly exist in our upstream supply chain rather than in our direct operations.”

“NIKE, INC. FY12/13 SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS PERFORMANCE SUMMARY”
“In FY13, 793 material vendors and contract factories tracked and reported their water use and discharge to the NIKE Water Program. Of 260 facilities discharging more than 50m3/day in FY13, 48% met NIKE water quality guidelines (which require compliance with all local regulations and NIKE guidelines, whichever are more stringent), and another 47% were compliant with local regulations. The remaining 5% needed improvement. The higher percentage needing improvement in FY13 (compared with the 1% noted in our FY10/11 report) is due to the expansion of the NIKE Water Program beyond apparel material vendors to include footwear materials suppliers for the first time.”

Here we offera generic step-by-step that can help companies measure and report the specific performance metrics described above.

Here we offer a generic step-by-step that can help companies measure and report the specific performance metrics described above.

BASIC

Total and percentage of withdrawals in water-stressed or water-scarce areas

Compilation
  • Step 1: Calculate total water withdrawals for the entire organization during the reporting period. This includes water withdrawn by third parties such as utilities and water used for cooling purposes.
  • Step 2: Calculate and report total withdrawals in areas exposed to water stressor water scarcity during the reporting period. The Context site provides guidance for assessing water stressandwater scarcity.
  • Step 3: Calculate and report the volume and percentage of total water withdrawals located in water-stressed or water-scarce areas.
  • Step 4: Obtain verification and assurance (optional).
Reporting units: Megaliters (ML); percentages (%)

Percent of facilities adhering to relevant water quality standard(s)

Compilation
  • Step 1: Determine the relevant water quality standard(s) the organization uses to measure and monitor the quality of its water discharge depending on its relevance to the company and its industry sector. These may include internally-developed standards as well as industry-specific standards like the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) industry effluent guidelines. They may also include treatment levels, as specified by the World Bank’s primary, secondary and tertiary classification scheme.
  • Step 2: Calculate and report the percentage of facilities adhering to the identified standard(s) during the reporting period.
  • Step 3: Obtain verification and assurance (optional).
Reporting units: Percentages (%)

Average water intensity in water-stressed or water-scarce areas

Compilation
  • Step 1: Identify the most appropriate units with which to measure water intensity. Organizations may use either product water intensity(e.g., volume of water used per unit of product or kilogram of product) or financial water intensity(e.g., volume of water used per dollars of goods sold) to report this information.
  • Step 2: Use the withdrawal data to calculate and report water intensity in areas exposed to water stressor water scarcity.
  • Step 3: Calculate and report the average water intensity across these locationsduring the reporting period.
  • Step 4: Obtain verification and assurance (optional).
Reporting units: Megaliters (ML) per product unit or per financial unit

Percent of facilities with fully functioning WASH services for all workers

Compilation
  • Step 1: Evaluate the current level of WASH services at all facilities within the scope of the report. The WBCSD Self-Assessment Tool can be used to complete this assessment.
  • Step 2: Use the self-assessment findings to calculate and report the percentage of facilities that provided fully functioning WASH services for all workers during the reporting period.
  • Step 3: Obtain verification and assurance (optional).
Reporting units: Percentages (%)

ADVANCED

Location-specific data: Water withdrawals by source type

Compilation
  • Step 1: Determine your organization’s water-related hot spots, as described on the Context page.
  • Step 2: Calculate and report the amount of water withdrawn in each hot spot.
  • Step 3: Break down water withdrawal data by source type, showing the amount of water withdrawn from surface water, groundwater (renewable and nonrenewable), municipal water, recycled water, runoff, saltwater, and wastewater.Provide this information at a hot spot level of granularity.
  • Step 4: Obtain verification and assurance (optional).
Reporting units: Megaliters (ML)

Location-specific data: Water consumption

Compilation
  • Step 1: Determine your organization’s water-related hot spots, as described on the Context page.
  • Step 2: Calculate and report the amount of water consumption in each hot spot.
  • Step 3: Obtain verification and assurance (optional).
Reporting units: Megaliters (ML)

Location-specific data: Water intensity

Compilation
  • Step 1: Determine your organization’s water-related hot spots, as described on the Context page
  • Step 2: Use the previously-calculated intensity data to report water intensity in each hot spot.
  • Step 3: Obtain verification and assurance (optional).
Reporting units: Megaliters (ML) per product unit or per financial unit

Location-specific data: Water discharge by destination

Compilation
  • Step 1: Determine your organization’s water-related hot spots, as described on the Context page
  • Step 2: Calculate and report water discharge in each hot spot.
  • Step 3: Break down discharge data by destination type, showing the amount of water discharged to surface water, groundwater, and sewers. Provide this information at a hot spot level of granularity.
  • Step 4: Obtain verification and assurance (optional).
Reporting units: Megaliters (ML)

Water performance in the value chain

Compilation
  • Step 1: Collect information on water performance metrics in the value chain, including:
    • Water withdrawals
    • Water consumption
    • Adherence to relevant water quality standard(s)
    • Water intensity
    • WASH services in the work place

    Value chain water data may be obtained directly, for example from suppliers and/or customers, or indirectly, for instance through economic input-output modeling or life cycle assessment techniques.

  • Step 2: Calculate the percent of suppliers (or other value chain actors) from which you are able to obtain data for each metric
  • Step 3: Extrapolate data to make estimate(s) for entire supply chain or value chain segment for each metric
  • Step 4: Obtain verification and assurance (optional).
Reporting units: Various

BASIC

PERFORMANCE Withdrawals in water-stressed or water-scarce areas (ML)
Percent of total withdrawals located in water-stressed or water-scarce areas (%)
Percent of total facilities adhering to relevant water quality standards (%)
Description of relevant water quality standards (narrative)
Average intensity in water-stressed or -scarce areas (ML per product or financial unit)
Percent of total facilities with access to fully-functioning WASH services for all workers (%)

ADVANCED

PERFORMANCE
companywide
Withdrawals in water-stressed or water-scarce areas (ML)
Percent of withdrawals located in water-stressed or water-scarce areas (%)
Percent of total facilities adhering to relevant water quality standards (%)
Average intensity in water-stressed or -scarce areas (ML per product or financial unit)
Percent of total facilities with access to fully-functioning WASH services for all workers (%)
Water performance in the value chain (narrative)

HS1 HS2 HS3
PERFORMANCE
location-specific
Withdrawals in each identified hot spot (ML)
Source type Surface water (%)
Ground water (%)
Runoff (%)
Waste water (%)
Municipal water (%)
Salt water (%)
Recycled water (ML per product or financial unit)
Water withdrawal intensity in each identified hot spot (ML)
Consumption in each identified hot spot (ML)
Discharge in each identified hot spot (%)
Destination type Surface water (%)
Ground water (%)
Sewer (%)

*Data that has been verified by an external third-party should be noted in the table with an asterisk