Friends of the Earth report documents land & water footprints of everyday products

This report analyses the land & water footprints of 7 everyday products: a cotton t-shirt, a smartphone, a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, a chicken curry ready meal, a pair of leather boots, and a chocolate bar.

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14 May 2015

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Author: Helen Burley, Friends of the Earth

"Mind your step: The land and water footprints of everyday products", May 2015

Growing global demand for consumer goods is  putting key resources – and our economy – under increasing pressure, yet all too often companies are not fully aware of the true extent of their  natural resource demands. This report explores the environmental footprints of everyday products, using a footprinting approach to measure the amount of land and water needed across the product’s supply chain. It argues that  this information is crucial both to business and to policy makers in understanding and managing the full extent of our resource use in the face of growing future constraints.

Friends of the Earth believes there is a limit to what can be achieved through voluntary action and we have been calling for stronger legislation to require large companies to report on the social and environmental impacts of the products they sell, including through the supply chain...Friends of the Earth and its allies are also calling for the UK Treasury to conduct an assessment of national resource consumption and dependency: a ‘Stern for Resources’...

Demand for both land and water is increasing and can be a source of tension or conflict. A large footprint for grey water use indicates risks from pollution – which as in the case of untreated waste water from the leather tanning process may provide a warning that local water sources are being contaminated. Large demand for land, as for the  leather industry, may be putting pressure on forests as cattle farming activities expand. In addition, in a world facing changing climate and weather patterns, green water can no longer be considered a reliable resource...

[Refers to Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, Apple, Arcadia Group, Barry Callebaut, Benetton, BlackBerry, French Connection, Gap, Guess, H&M, Hershey, Kraft Foods, LG Electronics (part of LG Corp.), Mars, Motorola Solutions, Nestlé, Next, Nokia, Orion, Samsung, Sony, Tiger Brands, Urban Outfitters, ZTE]

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14 May 2015

How much water is there in your boots?

Author: Henry Chown, Friends of Earth

Friends of the Earth has published major new research which sets out the environmental impact of making the products we use every day. We want to live within the limits of what the planet can provide so first we need to measure what we are using. We asked environmental data experts Trucost to find out how much land and water is needed to make our food, our clothes and our gadgets - through the whole supply chain...And it’s a lot. A pair of leather boots could take 14 tonnes of water and 50m2 of land to make...We want companies to account for all the land, water, carbon and materials that are used in their whole supply chains, using the four footprints: Land, water, carbon and materials. [Refers to Kraft Foods]

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