Businesses should tackle water and energy in tandem or risk “major disruption” it was claimed this week.
The claim came as several major companies including Nestlé, Baxter Healthcare, Sainsbury’s, Boots UK, Nokia, Tata and Crown Paints signed up to a framework to manage water and energy use simultaneously.
Research released by the Water Footprint Network and sustainability specialists Anthesis suggests there’s “danger” in seeing water and carbon footprints separately, as increasing demand for water places pressure on energy usage.
It points to rising populations, changing levels of rain and energy-intensive urbanisation as all placing strain on water supplies.
Paul McNeillis, Director of Anthesis and co-author of the report said: “Until today, water and energy use has been tackled separately. By considering them holistically, we are starting to clear the path towards sustainability.”
The report suggests that so far, there’s been a “gap” around how to practically gauge the footprint of carbon and water: “It is almost as if two parallel but unconnected disciplines have emerged.”
It puts forward some examples where the two combine, such as refrigeration and air con systems which use rainwater harvesting, or establishing an energy team to analyse and identify water and energy savings at the same time.