According to consultancy
D Little, which compiled a paper on the subject, it is “imperative”
for companies to assess their ‘water footprint’ by product or service line,
value chain and geographic location of business lines, analysing value drivers
such as water security, regulation and expectations of stakeholders.
Companies should then calculate how much water each business area needs to
use, pinpointing potential savings and efficiencies and managing supply and cost
“Dealing with the challenges of water management will be a priority for
businesses and global policymakers over the next 10 to 20 years,” says Melissa
Barrett, a manager at Arthur D Little’s sustainability and risk practice.
The consultancy advises a list of issues companies should be mindful of in
assessing their global footprint, which includes building a strategy to
accommodate the possibility of too much, too little, or poor quality water, and
managing the increasing price of water so as to mitigate exposure to higher
costs and suppressed growth.
It added that companies should watch for regulatory compliance burden by
region and country, as well as water permits, wastage penalties, expansion
restrictions and disposal of contaminated water.