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Corporate Water Accounting: An Analysis of Methods and Tools for Measuring Water Use and Its Impact

NOTE: The Public Comment period on the public draft of the Corporate Water Accounting report is now open and will be until December 11, 2009. Read below for more details on how to submit your comment.

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The United Nations Environment Programme’s Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics has commissioned a report from the Pacific Institute in its capacity as part of the CEO Water Mandate Secretariat. This stocktaking exercise, entitled “Corporate Water Accounting: An Analysis of Methods and Tools for Measuring Water Use and Its Impact,” is meant to map the state-of-play with regard to the methodologies and tools available for corporate water accounting. It is part of the broader UNEP Water Footprint, Neutrality, and Efficiency Umbrella Project.

This report aims to fulfill the need to clarify commonalities and differences among existing and emerging water accounting methodologies and tools being used in the private sector. Specifically, this report will:

  • Elucidate commonalities and differences among emerging methods and practice,
  • Identify gaps and challenges, and
  • Suggest where accounting methods might benefit from harmonization and increased field testing.

    It looks most closely at perhaps the two most significant water accounting methodologies: 1) water footprinting (as managed by the Water Footprint Network) and 2) emerging water-related practice in the field of Life Cycle Assessment. However, this analysis also examines in lesser detail the WBCSD Global Water Tool and GEMI’s water sustainability tools, as well as ecological and carbon footprinting methods as they relate to corporate water accounting.

    The Pacific Institute is now soliciting public comments on a preliminary draft of this report and asks that comments be submitted to by December 11, 2009. The purpose of this consultation is to help ensure that the analysis provides value to businesses, while addressing the concerns of consumers, investors, and other stakeholders from civil society, academia, intergovernmental organizations, and communities impacted by corporate water practices. The Pacific Institute will make final edits to the report based on comments received, as well as feedback heard at an upcoming UNEP workshop in Paris in late November. The final version of the report is slated for release in March 2010.

    Jason Morrison
    Program Director
    Pacific Institute

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    Corporate Water Accounting: An Analysis of Methods and Tools for Measuring Water Use and Its Impact

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    The CEO Water Mandate


    UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate Site

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