We want to assess our worldwide water use in manufacturing in order to monitor and reduce the direct consumption of fresh water (blue water footprint) associated with the production of our products. Globally, drinking water is a very scarce but vital resource. Even though this is not a problem in most areas where BioMar operates, we do affect the use of this scarce resource by dealing in raw materials that are responsible for considerable water consumption in the countries of origin. These countries are often in areas where shortage of water is critical. Raw materials that we use are traded with respect to international guidelines and certification schemes, in which responsible use of water has a high priority.
To some extent, water is used in almost all food manufacturing processes. Products may be viewed as containing the quantity of water used in their production – this is referred to as a "water footprint". A water footprint is made up of three types of water consumption known as blue, green and grey water footprints.
The green water footprint is the volume of rainwater stored in soil that evaporates through crop growth.
The blue water footprint is the volume of freshwater taken from the surface (lakes, rivers, reservoirs), while groundwater (aquifers) is used and not returned to the system it was withdrawn from. The largest share of global blue water footprint occurs in crop fields as a result of evaporation of irrigation water.
The grey water footprint is the volume of water polluted as a result of production processes (industrial and agricultural) and wastewater from household water use. It is the volume of water required to dilute pollutants to such an extent that the water quality reaches acceptable levels.