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The water footprint represents the direct and indirect consumption of water to make a product or a service, or during the production activities of an organisation.

The verification and proper reporting of the water footprint, in compliance with the ISO 14046 standard, identifies the elements which contribute most to water consumption during the LCA analysis, enabling the necessary strategies to be defined to reduce it.

Water footprint verification is carried out on the basis of four indicators, that are the availability of water resources in:
  • quantitative terms
  • qualitative terms (i.e. unavailability of water because it’s polluted)
  • time factors (availability over time)
  • spatial factors (availability in the reference territory).


  • Continuous monitoring of water life cycle and consumption associated with own products and services, or with own organisation
  • possibility to identify improvement strategies, thanks to the identification of the most critical elements from the water consumption point of view
  • enhanced image and of the environmental profile of own company, and more transparent relationship with clients.


RINA SERVICES has long-standing experience in the field of Life Cycle Assessment, which forms the basis of both Water Footprint reporting and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD). This experience has enabled our personnel to acquire a high level of know-how which it makes available to clients for verification activities.

RINA SERVICES also offers specialized courses and analysis related to the theme of the service: for further information please send an e-mail to ​ghg_services@rina.org.


  • Assessment of the reporting documentation together with the water footprint calculation
  • on-site verification of data acquisition
  • modelling of the calculations made by the software used for the analysis
  • independent review by a technical expert not connected with the audit team.


When is it possible to talk about water footprint?
Based on the ISO 14046 standard, a company can affirm that it has reported its water footprint when it has analysed all the indicators associated with it, and not just some of them. Vice versa, it is to specify the type of indicator analysed.

What are the possible indicators of the water footprint?
Some possible indicators given in the standard are:
  • water footprint scarcity
  • water footprint availability
  • water eutrophication footprint
  • water ecotoxicity footprint
  • water acidification footprint.
Does the water footprint standard also define the requirements relating to communication?
No, ISO 14046 only regulates the quantification as​pects. However, a third party report can be drawn up.
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