​Water footprint

The water footprint of a business consists of two components: the direct water used in production or supporting activities and the indirect use of water in the producer’s supply chain.

A water footprint divides the water into three different types - green, blue and grey. Green water represents the natural water cycle - the water evaporated by trees. Blue water refers to water withdrawn from rivers, lakes and aquifers and which is, after usage in the production process, not led back to the same watercourse. Grey water presents the amount of water needed to assimilate the remaining pollutants after the waste water cleaning process so that the water quality is equal or close to the natural status.

UPM has co-operated with the international Water Footprint Network (WFN) which is dedicated to advancing the concept of the ‘water footprint’ and promoting sustainable use of water around the world.

A Water Footprint Assessment maps the amount of fresh water consumed throughout the production chain of paper.

UPM launched a Water Footprint study at its Nordland paper mill in Germany in 2009. According to Water Footprint Network's Executive DirectorRuth Mathews, UPM's pilot study shows that when forests are managed sustainably, paper products will have little contribution to the growing concerns of water scarcity.

According to UPM's pilot study, 60% of the water footprint of paper is green water, 1% blue water and 39% grey water. Around 99% of the water footprint comes from the supply chain, and the remaining 1% comes from the actual paper mill production processes.

Water footprint standard ISO 14046:2014

Water footprint standard ISO 14046 was published at the end of 2014. When comparing the new standard with the water management systems UPM comply, we realized that almost all required data is published in the UPM's paper and pulp mill specific EMAS reports and in the UPM Annual Report, verified by a third party.