Connecting water footprint and water risk assessment: Case packaging board

Elina Saarivuori, Riitta Molarius, Helena Wessman-Jääskeläinen, Liisa Poussa

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    A company can evaluate water impacts related to its activities with the help of water footprint (WF), allowing manufacturer to identify freshwater consumption and degradation hotspots along the value chain. However, WF does not directly consider the environmental or process related risks caused by water use. This study aims at providing a framework for more extensive and complementary water assessments by connecting two environmental tools, WF and water risk assessment. Product system of a packaging board is used as a case example. WF assessment is carried out in accordance with the ISO 14046 Standard. Risk analysis focuses on the WF hotspots by analysing the local environmental circumstances and the main risks, their likelihood and consequences. The results show that water stress indicator is sensitive to input and output water qualities. The significance of local environmental circumstances (potential for droughts and shallow water levels, upstream water storages) on the water-based risks are highlighted in the results. The use of complementary methods reveals opposing interests: the lowest WF results of the studied scenarios include a risk for poor product quality. The results offer valuable information to a manufacturer on self-inflicted water impact and the role of indirect water use, helping to integrate water risk approach in the strategic planning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-241
    JournalWater Practice and Technology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • freshwater use
    • production plant
    • risk assessment
    • water footprint
    • water impact


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