A pilot in corporate water footprint accounting and impact assessment: the water footprint of a sugar-containing carbonated beverage

Ertug Ercin, Maite Martinez-Aldaya, Arjen Ysbert Hoekstra

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional

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All water use in the world is ultimately linked to final consumption by consumers. It is therefore interesting to know the specific water requirements of various consumer goods, particularly for goods that are water-intensive, like food products and beverages. This information is relevant not only for consumers, but also for food processors, retailers, traders and other businesses that play a central role in supplying those goods to the consumers. The objective of this study is to carry out a pilot study on water footprint accounting and impact assessment for a hypothetical sugar-containing carbonated beverage in a 0.5 litre PET-bottle produced in a hypothetical factory that takes its sugar alternatively from sugar beet, sugar cane and HFMS (high fructose maize syrup) and from different countries. The composition of the beverage and the characteristics of the factory are hypothetical but realistic. The data assumed have been inspired by a real case. Apart from water, the 0.5 litre bottle contains 50 grams of sugar, 4 grams of CO2 and very small amounts of some flavours (including caffeine, vanilla, lemon oil and orange oil). This is the first study that assesses the water footprint of a product with a very broad scope with respect to the inputs considered. The study does not only look at the water footprint of the ingredients of the beverage, but also at the water footprint of the bottle and other packaging materials and at the water footprint of the construction materials, paper and energy used in the factory and of the vehicles and fuel used for transport. The aim is primarily to learn from the practical use of existing water footprint accounting and impact assessment methods and to refine these methods and develop practical guidelines.
Original languageUndefined
Place of PublicationDelft, the Netherlands
PublisherUnesco-IHE Institute for Water Education
Number of pages58
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameValue of water research report 39
PublisherUNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education
ISSN (Print)1812-2108
ISSN (Electronic)1812-2116


  • METIS-264883
  • IR-77196

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