Borealis, a leading provider of innovative, value creating plastics solutions, has completed the plastics industry’s first assessment of the Water Footprint of plastics materials. The findings will be discussed at the 2009 World Water Week in Stockholm.
A Water Footprint measures the actual volume of fresh water that a business or manufacturing process of a product or service removes from the eco-system or from other local uses. It takes into consideration the abstraction but also the water flow and losses during the production process as well as the flow back to the eco-system or other users after treatment. A Water Footprint is therefore the volume of water abstracted from local sources minus the volume released in the same place after
treatment or directly made available for re-use. Evaluating the measurement against local water stress information allows the footprint impact on local communities or eco-systems to be assessed.
Borealis findings confirm initial estimates that the manufacturing of polyolefins has a limited direct Water Footprint – ranging from 1.2 to 6.5 litres of fresh water per kilo of finished product. But the indirect Water Footprint originating from feedstock and the source of energy used is more critical and can triple the total Water Footprint of the product.
“In a water stressed world, Water Footprint is a key concept to better assess and manage impacts on local environments and communities”, comments Mark Garrett, Borealis Chief Executive. “Knowing our company’s Water Footprint will give us a better understanding of the impact of our business and, based on local impact assessments, puts us in a stronger position to prioritise relevant water management actions. We take our responsibility towards the environment and communities in which we operate very seriously. Together with carbon and energy measurements, Water Footprint will be a core indicator to advance the sustainability of our operations and products.”