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Author: Helen Burley, Friends of the Earth, Published on: 14 May 2015

"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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Related companies: Abercrombie & Fitch American Eagle Outfitters Apple Arcadia Group Barry Callebaut Benetton BlackBerry French Connection Gap Guess H&M Hershey Kraft Foods (now Kraft Heinz) LG Electronics (part of LG Corp.) Mars Motorola Solutions Nestlé Next Nokia Orion Samsung Sony Tiger Brands Urban Outfitters ZTE