This metric tracks the total volume of fresh water that the organization consumed in the last calendar year in high or extremely high baseline water stress areas.
The GRI defines water stress as the “ability, or lack thereof, to meet the human and ecological demand for water.” The GRI further defines a high stress area as one where there is an inability to “meet the human and ecological demand for water”.
The World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Water Risk Atlas tool, Aqueduct, classifies that locations with 40–80 % or >80 % Baseline Water Stress as respectively High and or Extremely High stress areas. The Aqueduct tool examines all water-related risks, categorizing them into three groups: Physical Quantity, Quality and Regulatory, and Reputational Risk. In the tool, higher values indicate higher water risk.
Water consumed is distinct from water withdrawn, as it tracks the water used by an organization such that it is “no longer available for use by the ecosystem or local community.”
The GRI defines water consumption as the “sum of all water that has been withdrawn and incorporated into products, used in the production of crops or generated as waste, has evaporated, transpired, or been consumed by humans or livestock, or is polluted to the point of being unusable by other users, and is therefore not released back to surface water, groundwater, seawater, or a third party over the course of the reporting period.”
Where there is a conflict with how local laws and regulations define freshwater, the local regulation where the entity is operating will apply.
(Note: 1 Megaliter = 1,000 cubic meters)