Water Footprint accounting to support raw material selection: the case study of a paper company

Alessandro Manzardo, Monia Niero, Sara Toniolo, Antonio Scipioni

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Water footprint accounting to support raw material selection: The case study of a paper company
A Manzardo, M Niero, S Toniolo, A Scipioni
University of Padova, PADOVA, Italy
Water use and consumption has become a main issue debated at international level. Many companies are
facing relevant risks such as water resource availability, accessibility and image among stakeholders that affect
their market and competitiveness. To support companies in the management of such risks at product level, the
concept of Water Footprint emerged. In this paper the water footprint accounting of a tissue paper produced
in Italy is performed using the method developed by Hoekstra (Hoekstra et al., 2011) adopting a life cycle
perspective. The objective of the study were to support the company in the chemical pulp selection, the main
raw material used to produce the tissue paper, through the use of water footprint accounting indicator. A
cradle to gate approach is used, from raw material selection to tissue paper production in Italy. Data refer to
2011 and are obtained from different sources: on site data and literature data. Considering the characteristic
of the tissue paper, the study took in consideration the main chemical pulp suppliers of the company, their
location (Brazil, Chile, USA), the specific meteorological condition of the harvesting and production sites,
the supplier operation and the different typologies of tree used. The results of the study shows how the final
product water footprint accounting, that ranges from 1.008 m/ton3 to 5.090 tm3/ton, is highly influenced by
the choice of the chemical pulp (from 96% to 99% of the overall water footprint accounting) and that the main
contribution is from green water footprint. Suppliers from Brazil harvesting pine trees, because of the low
level of evapotranspiration and forest management practices, resulted to be the ones with lowest green water
footprint and therefore the preferable for raw material selection in the specific case study. The results helped the
company to integrate environmental issues within supply chain management, supporting strategies to reduce
final product water footprint.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventSETAC Europe 18th LCA Case Studies Symposium: Sustainability Assessment in the 21st Centurey - Tools, Trends & Applications - IDA (Danish Society of Engineers) Conference Center, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 26 Nov 201228 Nov 2012


ConferenceSETAC Europe 18th LCA Case Studies Symposium
LocationIDA (Danish Society of Engineers) Conference Center

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