Much of the global population already experiences severe water scarcity, and things will only get worse. The retail ecosystem and connected industries use a lot of water and have a major impact on the pollution of oceans and freshwater sources. In the future, consumers will start to notice how unfair it is to import juicy and watery products from water poor countries. Water footprint calculations will become a must-have, like CO2 footprints already are. This presents an opportunity for countries with vast water resources. We also need to take a giant leap in manufacturing processes to create less water-intensive products. The infrastructural changes needed in the production and recycling will be costly. The rising costs may be reflected in consumer price tags. Here, too, the retail industry needs to lead the way.
Many global brands worry about their water supply and struggle to find more sustainable ways to use this precious resource. Consumers will start to look for products with a smaller water-footprint. Reliable information will be sought after. Importing water from water-poor countries will be considered a faux pas, possibly even illegitimized. This opens possibilities for products from water-rich countries.
- Prepare to provide information on the water consumption of your products, services and processes
- Investigate ways to make your processes less water-intensive and make changes in processes (CO2 and) water first
- Try to get rid of plastics in water packaging
- Opt for solutions that minimise microplastic pollution in bodies of water
- Give your support to soil-free portable farms and other closed systems, that recycle water and use space cleverly