Aims & history

At Water Footprint Network, we believe that sustainable use of fresh water is a critical foundation for healthy lives and a healthy planet. As our consumer society grows and pressure on our limited supply mounts, the race is on for us to rethink and ultimately, transform the ways in which we use and manage water. To keep us on track, we have a vision of the world we would like to live in.

Our vision: A world in which we share clean fresh water fairly amongst all people to sustain thriving communities and nature’s diversity.

It is going to take more than the Water Footprint Network to bring this vision to life; it is going to take a global community of dedicated individuals and committed organisations. We believe the Water Footprint has something special to bring as we all work together to achieve fair and smart water use. We have made this our mission.

Our mission: To use the water footprint concept to promote the transition toward sustainable, fair and efficient use of fresh water resources worldwide.

Founded as a non-profit, multi-stakeholder network, Water Footprint Network aims to facilitate partners in initiating activities, sharing best-practices and developing tools and materials that help reach our shared mission. Hereto, the WFN Secretariat will coordinate and advance five overarching main activities:

(1) Network and Exchange
(2) Awareness Raising
(3) Capacity Building
(4) Knowledge and Data Dissemination
(5) Influencing Policy and Practice

Do you think you or your organization can advance and support our mission with your work and expertise? Then join Water Footprint Network today!

We look forward to working with you so we can all live in the world we envision.

description

Village in the White Nile swamps near Bor, Jonglei, South Sudan (6°22’ N – 31°32’ E) © Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Altitude

History

In 2002, Arjen Hoekstra, whilst working at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, created the water footprint as a metric to measure the amount of water consumed and polluted to produce goods and services along their full supply chain.

Interest in the water footprint grew rapidly after its introduction in academic literature. In 2007, companies, in particular food and beverage companies such as Unilever, SABMiller, Heineken, Coca-Cola, Nestle and Pepsico, became increasingly aware of their water dependence and the water-related risk facing their companies.

In 2008, Hoekstra, professor in water management at the University of Twente since 2005, together with leading global players from business, civil society, multilateral organisations and academia, founded the Water Footprint Network with the aim of bringing together some of the brightest minds committed to demonstrating how Water Footprint Assessment can help us overcome the challenges of unsustainable water use.

Find out more