Carbon, Ecological and Water Footprint

The water-footprint concept is part of a larger family of concepts that have been developed in the environmental sciences over the past decade. A "footprint" in general has become known as a quantitative measure showing the appropriation of natural resources or pressure on the environment by human beings. The ecological footprint is a measure of the use of bio-productive space (hectares). The carbon footprint measures the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured carbon dioxide equivalents (in tonnes). The water footprint measures water use (in cubic metres per year). The three indicators are complementary, since they measure completely different things. Methodologically there are many similarities between the different footprints, but each has its own peculiarities related to the uniqueness of the substance considered. Most typical for the water footprint is the importance of specifying space and time. This is necessary because the availability of water highly varies in space and time, so that water appropriation should always be considered in its local context.

Very nice infographic looking at the carbon and water footprint of an Irish citizen:

On 22nd March (World Water Day 2013) Best Foot Forward and the Water Footprint Network launched their new initiative to tackle the water-carbon nexus.

The related press release:

New cooperative initiative will tackle carbon and water together

Friday 22nd March on World Water Day 2013, Best Foot Forward ( and the Water Footprint Network ( launch their new initiative to tackle the water-carbon nexus. The organisations are inviting industry stakeholders to join a new working group that will tackle the challenge of integrating carbon and water management.

In the spirit of the International Year of Water Cooperation 2013, World Water Day is dedicated to the theme of cooperation around water and on this day we are joining forces to tackle the issue of carbon and water footprint in a truly cooperative way.
The outcome will be a paper which offers the best practice and advice, including case studies from companies who have successfully managed their water and carbon use in an integrated way. By avoiding trade-offs and creating efficiencies, companies can do more to reduce environmental impact.
Kurt Unger from the Water Footprint Network, said:
‘Bringing together the two global problems of unsustainable water use and climate change into one set of integrated solutions will quickly advance companies toward reducing their impacts and improving the sustainability of their products.'
Chris White from Best Foot Forward said:
‘It's vital for businesses to consider both carbon and water footprint together, but this isn't an easy thing to do. We have some powerful capability and experience in this field but we don't have all the answers so we're asking business leaders to work with us to help come up with solutions.'

Companies can find out more about the initiative by contacting either organisation directly.

Contact information
For more information or to be involved with the initiative, please contact:
Dr. Ashok K. Chapagain
Science Director
Phone +31 53 489 1065

Paul McNeillis
Director, Best Foot Forward
07787 518 534
01865 250818