General Introduction

We know water is critical to life. We also know Earth is becoming hotter, drier, and more crowded. As human population grows and consumers demand more apparel and footwear products, freshwater is also becoming more heavily demanded. There is a finite amount of water on Earth, but we are demanding more and more water to sustain our population and our industry. If your factory uses freshwater as global demand for water increases, your factory is reducing the amount of clean, potable water available to workers, the community, and the environment. This not only creates a risk for your business, but creates a risk for your community and planet on a broader scale.

It is important to understand how much water you are withdrawing, in order to take action to improve your freshwater across your facility sites’ operations.

Water used by companies may come from a number of sources, including the following (definition reference: CDP Water Reporting Guidance):

  • Fresh surface water: Surface water is naturally occurring water on the Earth’s surface in ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, icebergs, bogs, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams. (Fresh water underground is called groundwater and oceans are not freshwater). Fresh water sources are generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts (below 1,000 mg/l) and other total dissolved solids.
  • Rainwater: If a company is managing rainwater, either to harvest and use, or to prevent flooding for example, they should try to estimate and disclose it as withdrawal from the hydrological system. This helps companies better understand their water dependency and risks.
  • Groundwater: Water in soil beneath the soil surface, usually under conditions where the pressure in the water is greater than the atmospheric pressure, and the soil voids are substantially filled with the water. Non-renewable groundwater is generally located at deeper depths and cannot be replenished easily or is replenished over very long periods of time. They are sometimes referred to as “fossil” groundwater sources.
  • Produced/process water: Water which, during extraction or processing, comes into direct contact with or results from the production or use of any raw material (e.g. crude oil or a by-product from sugar cane crushing), intermediate product, finished product, by-product, or waste product. Note this also includes reused / recycled water:

According to GRI – G4’s explanation of Indicator EN10, recycled or reused water is defined as “an act of processing used water/wastewater through another cycle before discharge to final treatment and/or discharge to the environment”. It specifies three general types of water recycling/reuse practices:

  • Wastewater recycled back in the same process or higher use of recycled water in the process cycle;
  • Wastewater recycled/re-used in a different process, but within the same facility; and
  • Wastewater re-used at another of the reporting organization’s facilities. In accordance with Indicator EN10, this can include water that was treated prior to reuse and water that was not treated prior to reuse. It can also include collected rainwater and wastewater generated by household processes such as washing dishes, laundry, and bathing (grey water).

  • Municipal water: Water provided by a municipality or other public provider.
  • Wastewater from another organization: Ceres Aqua gauge defines wastewater as “Water that is of no further immediate value to the purpose for which it was used or in the pursuit of which it was produced because of its quality, quantity or time of occurrence.” Cooling water is not considered to be wastewater.
  • Brackish surface water/seawater: Brackish water is water in which the concentration of salts is relatively high (over 10,000 mg/l). Seawater has a typical concentration of salts above 35,000 mg/l.

Note: You may use the water in the form that it is provided, or you may need to treat the water.

Applicability

At the beginning of this section you will be asked to evaluate your water risk using either the WRI Aqueduct Tool or the WWF Water Risk Filter. Facilities with high water use and those located in areas of high/very high water risk will be asked to complete the full Water section to ensure appropriate water management. Facilities with low water use that are located in areas of low water risk will only need to answer Level 1 questions.

If using the WRI Aqueduct Tool go to the home page and select explore global water risk maps and select Enter Address at the bottom of the screen to search using your facility address. Facility should select default weighing scheme. “Low risk”, “Low to medium risk” and “Medium to high risk” are defined as “Low risk” in FEM. “High risk” and “Extremely high risk” are defined as “High risk” in FEM.

Tracking and Reporting Water Use in Higg FEM

Accurately tracking and reporting water use data overtime provides facility’s and stakeholders with detailed insight into opportunities for improvement. If data is not accurate, this limits the ability to understand a facility’s water use footprint and identify the specific actions that will help reduce environmental impacts and drive efficiencies.

When establishing a water tracking and reporting program, the following principles should be applied:

  • Completeness – The tracking and reporting program should include all relevant sources (as listed in the FEM). Sources should not be excluded from data tracking and reporting should be based on materiality (e.g. small quantity exceptions).
  • Accuracy – Ensure that the data input into the water tracking program is accurate and is derived from credible sources (e.g. calibrated meters, established scientific measurement principles or engineering estimates, etc.)
  • Consistency – Use consistent methodologies to track water data that allows for comparisons of water use over time. If there are any changes in the tracking methods, water sources, or other operations that impact water use data, this should be documented.
  • Transparency – All data sources (e.g., water bills, meter readings, etc.), assumptions used (e.g., estimation techniques), and calculation methodologies should be disclosed in data inventories and be readily verifiable via documented records and supporting evidence.
  • Data Quality Management – Quality assurance activities (internal or external data quality checks) should be defined and performed on water data as well as the processes used to collect and track data to ensure reported data is accurate.

The above principles are adapted from The Greenhouse Gas Protocol – Chapter 1: GHG Accounting and Reporting Principles.

Water Use – Level 1

Questions

Source

  • Does your facility track its water use from this source?
  • What quantity of water from this source was used during the reporting year?
  • Unit of Measure
  • Which method was used to track water use from this source?
  • What was the frequency of measurement?

Suggested uploads: Optional: annual summary of the water consumption for each type of water source. Uploading utility bills is NOT required, but these should be available during verification.

If you are unable to report the amount of water used from a source, the method being used to track it, and the frequency of measurement; please select No or Unknown as your answer option for the question: Does your facility track its water use from this source?

Please note that if you are unable to identify the sources of water used, please select “Water – general or unknown origin” as your answer for this question.

You will receive Full Points if you are completely tracking the quantity of water that your facility withdraws from all sources.

You will receive Partial Points if you are completely tracking at least one of your sources, but are not yet tracking all of your sources.

The Higg FEM automatically converts water use data into common units (liter) and % of total use.

This information will be used to auto-calculate average daily water use to determine applicability.

  • If your facility site uses more than 35 m3/day, you are a heavy water user
  • If your facility site uses less than or equal to 35 m3/day, you are a light water user

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is for you to enter quantitative data that shows how much water your facility is using. This question also helps you build your facility’s water source list, which provides a clear understanding of what water is being used, where it is being used in your factory, and how much is being used.

Measurement of all freshwater use from all freshwater sources is the foundation of a water management. Ensuring measurement of all freshwater sources gives facilitates the ability to perform a water balance, set freshwater based key performance indicators (KPI), identify water leaks, and establish and measure freshwater footprint.

The most common freshwater use is potable municipal or city water (drinking water). Other sources can be from ground water wells, surface waters (lakes, rivers, and streams), rain water, recycled process water, and even condensate when collected from steam which is supplied to the business from an external source.

Technical Guidance:

Please include all water sources used within the site’s physical boundary and operations under your business control (owned, operated or directly leased). Please exclude any outsourced services or areas such as a contracted canteen or rental shop.

Water use tracking is considered the first step in managing water use. It’s recommended to start by:

  • Mapping out business and operational processes to identify water sources, areas/processes that consume water.
  • Establish procedures to collect and track water use data:
    • Use utility bills to determine the quantity of purchased water
    • Determine methods to track water consumption from other applicable sources, such as rainwater, recycled water, etc.
    • Install sub-meters to track the amount of water used on-site.
    • If estimation techniques are used to determine water use, the calculation methodology should be clearly defined and be supported by verifiable data.
    • Take inventory of how the site obtains water and gathers information on where the water comes from and who or what supplies the water.
  • Record tracking data (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly consumption records) in a format that is easy to review [e.g. spreadsheet (e.g. Microsoft Excel) or similar data analytics program that allows export of data in a human readable format (e.g. Excel, csv)] and maintain relevant supporting evidence for review during verification.

Reporting Water Use Data in Higg FEM:

Before reporting water use data in the FEM, data quality checks should be performed to ensure that the data AND the processes used to collect and record the data are effective at producing accurate data.

Do:

  • Review source data (e.g. utility invoices, meter logs, etc) against aggregated totals to ensure it is accurate.
  • Compare the current year with historical data. Any significant changes (e.g. an increase or decrease of over 10%) should be attributable to known changes. If not, further investigation may be warranted.
  • Ensure the most recent and updated versions of data tracking spreadsheets are being used and that all automated calculations/formulas are correct.
  • Ensure the proper units are reported and verify any unit conversions from source data to reported data.
  • Review any assumption or estimation methodology/calculations to ensure accuracy

Do Not:

  • Report data that is not accurate (e.g. the data source is unknown or has not been verified).
  • Report estimated data if it is not supported by verifiable and reasonable accurate estimation methodology and data (e.g. engineering calculations).

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s water use data, Verifiers must review all aspects of the facility’s water tracking program that could produce inaccuracies including:

  • The initial data collection processes and data sources (e.g., invoices, on-site meters, metering logs, etc.); and
  • The process and tools used to aggregate the data (e.g. spreadsheet calculations, unit conversions, etc.)

 

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Full Points

  • Documentation Required:
  • Water consumption records (e.g. monthly bills and annual consumption records; metering records compiled in a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel) is ok as long as the metering records are available for review as well) whose totals match the reported data to all questions answered.
  • Meter calibration records where applicable (e.g. as per manufacturer’s specifications).
  • Estimate methodology documented where applicable
  • All water sources at the facility are tracked in full. This means that all water sources listed in the Level 1 table have complete answers in all columns that are accurate.

 

  • Interview Questions to Ask:
  • Key Employees are aware of the facility’s water data tracking program and how data quality is maintained.

 

  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
    • Confirm sources of water intake and/or extraction
    • If a facility has flow meters, see if the flowmeters are in place and working
    • Take a photo of flowmeters (if applicable)

Partial Points

  • Same requirements as for “full points” above for at least one water source at the facility. This must be tracked in full. This means that at least one (but not all) water sources listed in the Level 1 table have complete answers in all columns and there is evidence to support all of the answers.

Other References: This question can be used to inform responses to The Sustainability Consortium’s Home and Apparel Textiles Toolkit. The Water Use – Supply Chain Key Performance Indicator asks respondents if total annual water use is reported by fabric facilities. The fabric facility data can be aggregated by brands to answer TSC’s question.

Water Use – Level 2

Questions

Source

  • Is the baseline absolute or normalized?
  • What is the baseline quantity and unit of measure?
  • Enter baseline year
  • How was your baseline calculated?

Was the baseline verified?

Answer No/Unknownif you are unable to report your baseline year and quantity for a source.

What is the intent of the question?

In order to demonstrate improvements or reductions, it’s important to know what your starting point is. Setting a baseline (i.e. the annual performance of a set parameter of a defined base year) enables you to have clear reference point for ongoing water use tracking and target setting.

Technical Guidance:

A “baseline” is a starting point or benchmark that you can use to compare yourself against over time.

In the FEM, baselines can be “absolute” (total consumption for a reporting year. e.g. 150,000m3 of municipal per year) or “normalized” to a product or operational metric (e.g. 0.15m3 per unit of production). Data normalization is recommended to account for operational fluctuations as this provides for better year-over-year comparison of data and therefore more useful, and actionable analytics.

When establishing a baseline, be sure to do the following:

  • Confirm the water use data is stable, and sufficient to be used to determine a baseline. In the Higg FEM, a baseline should generally comprise of a full calendar year’s data.
    • Note: If your factory has undergone major structural or operational changessuch as acquisition or changes in product type, in general, you should establish or reset a baseline after those changes have been completed.
  • Determine if the baseline will be Absolute or Normalized (Normalized baselines are preferred)
  • Verify the source data and normalizing metrics data is accurate.
    • Water and production volume data from previous Higg FEM 3.0 verifications, internal or external audits conducted by qualified personnel are acceptable sources data verification.
  • Apply the appropriate baseline metric (i.e., per year for absolute OR divide by the chosen normalizing metric 150,000 m3 per 1,000,000 pieces = 0.15m3/piece)
    • Note: For water consumption that is not related to production, other normalizing metrics should be used where appropriate. For example: Domestic only water use can be normalized per person (e.g. 0.005m3 per person per day or month).

Note: If the baseline is used to evaluate performance against a target, the baseline should remain unchanged.

Reporting baseline data in Higg FEM:

Do:

  • Review water use source data and raw normalizing metric data (water invoices, meter logs, production quantity, etc.) against aggregated totals used to determine the baseline(s) to ensure they are accurate. (e.g. double check monthly water source consumption records to ensure they match the annual water consumption quantities used to calculate the baseline).
  • Select the appropriate baseline type in the FEM – Absolute or Normalized.
  • Ensure the proper units are reported and verify any unit conversions from source data to reported data.
  • Enter the baseline year. This is the year the baseline data represents.
  • Provide sufficient details on how the baseline was calculated (e.g. water consumption was normalized per meter of fabric produced).
  • Only select Yes to the question “Was the baseline verified?” if the baseline data was fully verified in a previous Higg FEM 3.0 verifications, or by an internal or external audit conducted by qualified personnel.

Do Not:

  • Report a baseline that is not accurate (e.g. the data source is unknown or has not been verified)
  • Report a baseline that is based on insufficient data (e.g., not a full year’s data).
  • Report an estimated baseline if it is not supported by verifiable and accurate estimation methodology and data (e.g. engineering calculations).

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s baselines, Verifiers must review:

  • All source data (water invoices, metering logs, production quantity) and aggregated data totals for the baseline year; and/or
  • Records of baseline data verification where available (e.g., previous Higg Verification, data quality review, internal or external audits, etc.)

 

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
  • Description/Methodology showing how the baseline was calculated
    • Documentation that shows the baseline matches consumption records for the year the baseline was set
    • Ability to demonstrate how baseline data was validated (e.g., used Higg FEM 3.0 verified data, used internal/external validation process)

 

  • Interview Questions to Ask:
  • Discussion with the team responsible for managing the metrics. The team must clearly explain and demonstrate how baseline data was calculated and validated (e.g., used HiggFEM 3.0 verified data, used internal validation process, external audit, etc.)

Upload the methodology for identifying the highest water use factors OR If you do not have a document to upload, describe your methodology

What are the highest water use factors at your facility?

Suggested uploads: ranking of processes or services, or operations that consume the most water (with water consumption values).

Answer Yes only if you have documented incoming water, water loss and outgoing water in a water pipeline drawing/diagram/flowchart that is complete with meter locations. This may also include submetering and proper record keeping to understand the process, machines, or operations that use the most water.It is important to understand what influences water withdrawal the most in your facility. This allows you to strategically target those factors in order to reduce water withdrawal.

What is the intent of the question?

The intent is to assess freshwater usage and impacts for the site and to identify which processes, machines or operations use the most water.

For sustainability efforts to continue a facility should identify and rank water impact influences within the facility boundary. Once a facility has an understanding of specific influences on water impact it can strategically reduce the water usage and impact by targeting those factors. A facility must be able to measure uses and context-based water risks before they can be effectively controlled.

Technical Guidance:

If the facility understands what influences water use and impacts it the most, details will be needed to fill out the subsequent questions that will be asked. The facility must be able to demonstrate how the highest water use process/operation is determined and what specifically is causing the high use of water.

To answer this question properly a facility must be able to understand how much water is going into a specific area / tool / process. A site process flow diagram with identification of where usage is metered or can be estimated is a first step to identifying high level water use areas.

One way to start is to create a water audit template. This involves manually listing out all equipment on site that uses water and then identifying through meters, quick tests, or estimates how much water each item on the list uses. Once complete, like items can be combined and totalled to enable comparing bathrooms to dye equipment for instance. This provides a good snapshot of how various areas are performing but requires time and effort to complete. Since a water audit is only a single view in time, it lacks performance over time visibility.

Where to go for more info:

  1. Steps in a Water Audit

http://www.facilitiesnet.com/green/article/Steps-in-a-Water-Audit-Facilities-Management-Green-Feature–9364

  1. Water Audit Data Collection Sheet

https://www.brewersassociation.org/attachments/0001/1518/Water_Water_Audit_Data_checklist.pdf

  1. Water calculation tool for the textile wet processing sector

https://watercalculator.dnvgl.com

Sites may want to invest in portable water meters to allow water measurement readings throughout the facility. Both battery operated digital in-line meters as well as non-invasive mount around the pipe ultrasonic meters are available.

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:

(Facility can demonstrate they have evaluated and are aware of incoming water, water loss and outgoing water in facility through one or both of the following):

  • Documented water assessment (conducted internally or by a third party) of the site identifying the aspects that contribute the most to the water withdrawal
  • Facility flowchart including where measurements are made for water use and wastewater effluents.

 

  • Interview Questions to Ask:
  • The management and key employees know what aspects of the site contribute the most to the water withdrawal based on the results of n water assessment conducted internally or externally
  • The management and key employees understand local water challenges and how site impacts link to these – for example is the site is using high levels of groundwater in a groundwater stressed area

 

  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
  • Review water pipeline drawing/diagram/flowchart, check if the factory is knowledgeable regarding their water usage
  • Sub metering and proper record keeping for water consumption

Source

  • Has your facility set a target for reducing water use from this source?
  • What is your target for change in water use from this source?(Enter a negative percentage for a reduction target, and a positive percentage for an increase target.)
  • Enter the target year
  • Is this a normalized or absolute target?
  • Describe the measures planned to achieve this target

Upload: Documentation describing the targets in place to reduce the water withdrawal

Answer No/Unknown if you are unable to tell us your target amount, year and whether it is absolute or normalized for a source

You will receive Full Points if you set targets for water sources that make up 80% or more of your total water use.

You will receive Partial Points if you set targets for water sources that make up 50-79% of your total water use. This is to reward you for aiming to reduce your greatest sources of water withdrawal which will maximize environmental impact.

Please Note: Full or Partial points are automatically calculated based on which sources you report having an improvement target for.

Make sure to enter a negative percentage for a reduction target (e.g. -5 for a 5% reduction), and a positive percentage for an increased usage target (e.g. 5 for a 5% increase in usage).

What is the intent of the question?

For facilities to have established at least one water use reduction target for your facility.

Sustainable companies continually work towards minimizing their environmental impacts. Now that you know how much water your facility uses (your “baseline”), and your greatest drivers of water use, you are ready to set targets to reduce your water use.

Targets can be long-term or short-term (short term = less than 3 years, long term = more than 3 years). Once set, progress should be reviewed at least quarterly to ensure adjustments are made as needed to stay on track to realize success.

Technical Guidance:

A target can use absolute or normalized metrics to drive quantifiable improvements by a set date compared to the baseline. For Higg FEM, reduction targets may be normalized to the production volume metric (selected in Site Info section: Annual volume unit) or other appropriate operational metric. A normalized target shows you when progress is real, rather than being a result of business changes such as reductions in production. An example of a normalized target is cubic metres of water used for the production of one kilogram of sellable product (m3/kg).

The FEM requires that formal targets be set in order to be able to answer Yes to this question. When establishing formal improvement targets, be sure to do the following:

  • Base the target on a formal evaluation of improvement opportunities and actions (e.g. equipment replacement or upgrades) to calculate the amount of water that can be reduced.
    • For example: Setting a target based on an evaluation of  installing a counter current rinsing system is expected to result in a 5% reduction in annual municipal water consumption per square meter of fabric produced that was calculated based on a formal review of the rinse system manufacturer’s specifications and the expected production requirements.  OR a 10% reduction target that will be achieved the installation of low flow water taps in all lavatories that was calculated based on the facility’s baseline water use data and the reduced flow rate of the taps to be installed.
  • Define the exact target quantity, expressed as a precent (e.g. reduce normalized municipal water consumption per square meter of fabric by 5%). This must be based on a formal evaluation as noted above.
  • Determine if the target will be Absolute or Normalized to a production or operating metric.
  • Define the start date (i.e., “baseline”) of target
  • Define the end date of the target, meaning the intended completion date of the required improvements.
  • Define the appropriate measurement unit
  • Establish procedures to review the target. This review should include an evaluation of the actions taken and progress on reaching the defined target. Quarterly reviews are recommended.
  • Ensure the target is relevant to reducing the site’s water use (e.g. focuses on the most significant water uses at the site)

Reporting Targets in Higg FEM:

Do:

  • Review the target to ensure all aspects noted above are covered and that the information is accurate.
  • Enter the targeted reduction or improvement as a percentage.Make sure to enter a negative percentage for a reduction target (e.g. -5 for a 5% reduction), and a positive percentage for an increased usage target (e.g. 5 for a 5% increase in usage).
  • Select the appropriate target type in the FEM – Absolute or Normalized.
  • Provide sufficient details on how the target will be met in the “Describe the measures planned to achieve this target:” field (e.g. Achieve a 5% reduction in normalized municipal domestic water consumption per person by installing low flow fittings and self-closing taps on all taps in facility lavatories).

 

Do Not:

  • Report a target that is not accurate (e.g. the data source is unknown or has not been verified)
  • Report a target that is based on insufficient data. (e.g. a reduction target that is not based on a formal evaluation of options such as equipment upgrades to meet the stated target OR actions to meet the target have not been defined.)
  • Report an estimated target if it is not supported by verifiable and accurate estimation methodology and data (e.g. engineering calculations).

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s targets, Verifiers must review:

  • All supporting evidence (e.g. calculations, water use data and baselines, new/proposed equipment specifications, etc) to verify target is based on a formal evaluation of improvement opportunities.
  • Facility operations in relation to its water sources and use to ensure targets and opportunities evaluated are relevant to the site’s water use.

 

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Full Points

  • Documentation Required:
  • Supporting documentation that demonstrate targets are based on a formal evaluation of reductions/improvement opportunities (e.g. calculations, water use data and baselines, new/proposed equipment specifications, etc)
  • Supporting methodology and calculations to show how the target(s) was calculated
  • List of measures/actions to be taken to achieve the target
  • Target communicated to the relevant employees and linked to the major water usage of the facility identified in question 3.
  • Communication method may include: Meeting, bulletin board posting, newsletter release, any other form of written communication to employees which are involved with the tasks as they relate to energy usage in the facility.
    • Note: If targets are newly established, the review structure and responsibility delegation must already be in place.

 

  • Interview Questions to Ask:
  • Discussion with the team responsible for managing the targets. The team must clearly explain and demonstrate how the target was determined (e.g. based on calculated reductions from evaluations of improvement opportunities) and how the target is monitored and reviewed.
  • Management actively promotes or endorses proactive water conservation
  • Management is driving continuous improvement and reviewing water reduction targets on an annual basis
  • Water consumption data is made available to relevant internal and/or external stakeholders in order to drive accountability for achieving targets

Partial Points

  • Same requirements as for “Yes” answer but for sources (or one source) totalling 50-79% of water use (this data is found in the % contribution calculation in question 1).

Example of how points are awarded for this question:

If a facility’s water sources were as follows:

  • 90% of incoming water used is from the municipality;
  • 10% of water used onsite comes from ground water wells

To achieve full points, the facility would need to have targets that address municipal water use because this source represents more than 80% of the facility’s total water withdrawal.

If targets were set for ground water only, no points would be awarded as this source makes up less than 50% of the facility’s total water withdrawal.

Note that the targeted or actual water reduction amounts (i.e. quantity in m3) are not used in determining the points awarded.

The goal of this is to reward facilities for aiming to reduce the greatest sources of water withdrawal which will maximize reductions in environmental impact.

Please upload a copy of the implementation plan.

Suggested uploads: Please upload the water use reduction plan showing specific actions designed to achieve targeted reductions in water consumption.

Answer Yes if you have an implementation plan in place that demonstrates you are taking action to achieve your targeted reductions.

Answer Partial Yes if you have a plan but have not started on all action items.

What is the intent of the question?

Target-setting is an important step in systematically managing water use, but your site must take action to make reductions in order to improve. Having an implementation plan demonstrates the action you are taking to achieve your targeted reductions. Some facilities may have an implementation plan without having set targets. Management commitment, employee awareness, and participation are needed to ensure improvement opportunities can be identified, solutions can be proposed, and changes can be made using capital or expense dollars if necessary to successfully implement proposed solutions. Often this can involve third party consultation, literature and technology research, design firms, and pilot testing among many other potential paths toward installation of solutions. All activity related to meeting targets should be part of an implementation plan to ensure organized and coordinated progress steps take place from the start.

Technical Guidance:

A business process to account for communication and approval paths for water conservation projects should be documented and formalized by the facility.

Steps for action should include:

  1. Identification of water saving opportunities
  2. Evaluate water saving alternatives, investment and return on investment (ROI)
  3. Approve funds for chosen solution
  4. Implement the solution and track reductions
  5. Conduct regular review on the action plan to check progress

Water savings opportunities can be identified by individual employees, water audits, and water balances to name a few. Some simple saving alternatives are related to maintenance such as fixing leaks. Other saving alternatives may be more complex requiring changes to process or replacement of equipment/chemicals such as:

  • Process and recipe optimization
  • Checking the optimum process conditions and fastness requirements
  • Achieving higher right-first-time
  • Use of chemicals which can improve the wash-off behavior
  • Combination of processes: possibility of use of dyes and chemicals in same bath for two stages
  • Possibility of use of penultimate rinse or wash water for other processes

Cost is typically of highest concern, so a facility should be able to evaluate return on investment scenarios since improvements may cost capital but will reduce the cost of water use and may also include energy and chemical savings. Once the solution is chosen the facility needs to schedule and support implementation. This can be as simple as changing valves or as complex as having a third party perform design build contracts. Ultimately this question is looking for the framework around how the facility pursues action on sustainable innovations.

Your implementation plan may include any actions that reduce water consumption. Water Saving Measures include:

  • Collecting and reusing condensate
  • Collecting and reusing cooling water
  • Recycling and reusing water by more than 80% by employing Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) water treatment technologies.
  • Collecting and reusing process or rinsing water (at least 30% recommend)
  • Using low liquor dyeing machines
  • Showing liquor ratio in each individual process recipe
  • Using batch rinsing instead of continuous flow washes
  • Automatic dispenser system for dyes and auxiliaries (chemical including salt)

Best Practice recommendations include:

  • Dye batch scheduling to reduce equipment cleaning/rinsing (group similar colors on dye machines)
  • Dye fixation ratio optimization for fewer rinse cycles less pigment in effluent
  • Improved chemicals to reduce water usage
  • Modern water saving equipment installed.
  • Flow meters monitor water use by process
  • Employee awareness water conservation
  • Fixing leaks (wasteful practices)

Where to go for more info:

  • Stockholm International Water Institute: http://www.siwi.org/
  • Implementation plan template: https://apparelcoalition.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002449511-Implementation-Plan-Template

Templates to Create: download a sample implementation plan template for small/medium Tier 2 factories here

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
  • Water reduction plan listing specific projects, target reductions, dates, and progress that covers 80% or more of total water use and/or
  • Water audit or assessment done by external party identifying water reduction opportunities and implementation dates

 

  • Interview Questions to Ask:
  • Management can articulate the plan including projects being implemented, their completion status, and their associated benefits
  • Management actively promotes or endorses proactive water conservation

 

  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
  • Projects identified in the plan that are completed or in progress
  • Take pictures of any equipment or processes relate to the plan

Partial Yes

  • Same requirements as for “Yes” answer but for sources (or one source) totalling 50-79% of total water use

Source

  • Select baseline year
  • Indicate your facility’s change in water withdrawal from this source (Quantity, Unit of Measure and Percentage change)
  • Describe the strategies used to achieve this improvement

Suggested Upload: a) Evidence of normalized or absolute reduction of annual water withdrawal for at least one primary water sources (e.g. fresh surface water, groundwater etc.) that is attributable to actions taken by the site. b) Water tracking reports showing reductions of the normalized water withdrawal in the last calendar year

You will receive Full Points if you made reductions in the last calendar year for water sources that make up 80% or more of your total water withdrawals.

You will receive Partial Points if you made reductions in the last calendar year for water sources that make up 50-79% of your total water withdrawals. This is to reward you for reducing your greatest sources of water withdrawal which will maximize environmental impact.

Select No if you have no reductions in the last calendar year or are unable to state what your reductions are for a source as your answer option for that source.

If you have entered a baseline for each of your sources, your reductions will be auto calculated within the tool. If you have not entered a baseline, you have the option to manually enter your reductions below.

What is the intent of the question?

Sustainability is a journey of continuous improvement. Success is the result of extensive work involved in tracking, setting targets, and performing to implementation plans to meet targets. This question provides an opportunity for facilities to demonstrate their quantifiable water conservation success achieved in the reporting year. By tracking improvement over the previous year, a facility proves through results the commitment made towards sustainability.

This is your opportunity to demonstrate impact reduction from your hard work to track, set targets and create an action plan. Use this question to share what you have accomplished in the last calendar year.

Technical Guidance:

Reductions can be absolute or normalized, however it is recommended that you show normalized reductions such as “Groundwater use was reduced by 0.17 m3 per unit in the reporting year” This is because normalized metrics show real improvement rather than reductions from business changes such as reduced production.

The FEM requires that year over year water use reductions be demonstrated in order to be able to answer Yes to this question. When evaluating your water use improvements, be sure to do the following:

  • Review the water source data and aggregated total to ensure the data and any automated calculations are accurate.
  • Review the actions taken to make improvements and determine if they have resulted in measurable improvements by comparing the data with historical water use data and baselines to determine the improvement quantity. Note: Historical data accuracy should also be verified.
    • For example: Installation of a steam condensate recover system produced a 2% year over year reduction in normalized water consumption per meter of fabric produced. This was measured using sub meters installed in the condensate recovery system and the site’s overall municipal water consumption data.

Reporting Improvements in Higg FEM:

Do:

  • Review the reduction data to ensure all aspects noted above are covered and that the information is accurate.
  • Enter the improvement quantity either as an absolute or normalized value. This is the year over year change in water use for the source. (e.g. previous year’s consumption – reporting year consumption = the change in water use) Make sure to enter a negative number for a reduction (e.g. -0.05 for a normalized reduction of 0.05 m3/piece) and a positive number for an increase (e.g. 03 for a normalized increase in recycled water use of 0.03 m3/piece)
  • Select the appropriate units for the reduction. (If the appropriate units are not available, list the units in the “Describe the strategies used to achieve this improvement:” field)
  • Input the percent (%) change in the water use of the source from the previous year. Make sure to enter a negative percentage for a reduction (e.g. -5 for a 5% reduction), and a positive percentage for increased usage (e.g. 5 for a 5% increase in usage).
  • Provide sufficient details in the “Describe the strategies used to achieve this improvement:” field (e.g. Normalized municipal consumption was reduced by installing a condensate recovery system).

 

Do Not:

  • Report improvements that are not accurate (e.g. the data source is unknown or has not been verified)
  • Report improvement that were not achieved in the FEM reporting year (e.g. historical reductions achieved more than 1 year ago should not be reported)
  • Report an improvement that is absolute and relates to a decrease in production or reduced facility operations. This is why data normalization is important.
  • Report an improvement that is based on insufficient data. (e.g. an overall reduction was achieved but this was not related to measurable or defined actions taken to achieve the reduction). This is particularly important when the improvements are marginal (e.g. les that 1-2%) and possibly attributable to measurement/ tracking errors and/or operational variability.

 

NOTE: This is NOT scoring the actual % of improvement because a facility may be working on the last 5-10% of water efficiency which is hard to make up. We don’t want to falsely reward beginners and give fewer points to leaders.

How This Will Be Verified:

When verifying a facility’s improvements, Verifiers must review:

  • All supporting evidence (e.g. water use data and baselines, etc.) to verify the reported reduction quantity is accurate and attributable to measurable actions taken to reduce water use.
  • The implemented changes or actions taken to achieve the reductions.

 

If any inconsistencies or errors are noted, the reported information must be corrected where possible and detailed comments should be included in the Verification Data field.

Full Points

  • Documentation Required:
  • Water tracking reports and consumption records showing reductions from water sources that make up more than 80% of your total water use
  • Evidence of new equipment purchases or efficiency improvements that demonstrate that water reductions weren’t made solely from a decline in production, or number of workers, or change of process.

 

  • Interview Questions to Ask:
  • Discussionwith the team responsible for managing water use. The team must clearly explain and demonstrate how the reduction was achieved (e.g. what actions were taken, and how this change was measured and calculated).
  • Management are proactively driving continuous improvement reviewing waterconsumption reduction targets on regular basis
  • Management can describe how the actions that were taken by the facility to drive improvement.

 

  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
  • Progress against the components of the project plan (e.g. observation of the equipment/processes installed to reduce the water withdrawal)
  • Rebates received from water efficiency projects (if applicable)
  • Awards or certificates for water efficiency achievements

Partial Points

  • Same requirements as for “yes” above but for water sources (or one source) that make up 50- 79% of total water use

Water Use – Level 3

Questions

Upload the methodology for analyzing the water balance.

How was the water balance analysis conducted

Answer Yes if your facility has fully implemented a water balance to fully understand the traceability of water intake vs. usage and outputs in the facility. A complete water balance must include the below information.

Answer Partial Yes if you have completed a partial water balance but have an action plan to complete all requirements.

Includes:

  • The incoming water in the facility: amount and water sources
  • The quantity of water used during the production process
  • The quantity of water recycled/reused in the facility
  • The quality of wastewater generated
  • The wastewater generated in the facility
  • The volume of water discharged after the own treatment
  • The frequency which the water balance is updated

What is the intent of the question?

The creation of a full-facility water balance allows facilities to identify unaccounted-for water and provide insight into areas with efficiency improvement opportunities. A water balance, along with historical water use and cost of water, will help build a facility understand the overall water use and cost savings opportunities to the facility.

Technical Guidance:

A method that allows performance over time visibility is a water balance. A water balance allows a facility to identify water use and also potential losses through leaks and evaporation since it also looks at wastewater for a given area / tool / process. Historical water use along with cost can build trends that allow a facility to visualize performance over time from site level down to an individual process step. Limiting factors in creating a water balance are meters/estimates and logs of data, which need to be maintained. Electronic data systems can be implemented to perform this automatically and on demand, which eliminates time and effort otherwise taken by performing a water audit.

Basic water balance takes into account the facility property boundary and identifies all water coming into the facility from external sources (includes on-site wells), and all water leaving the facility from wastewater and sewer discharges. In an ideal environment there are no losses so influent – effluent = 0.

However, in the practical situation, difference between influent and effluent can hardly be zero. Difference is possibly result from leakage, evaporation (intended or unintended), error of measurement (1-10%), etc. Difference less than 15% of total water use is normal. Nevertheless, difference greater than 25% of total water use is usually indicative of a larger problem and sources of water loss should be identified through additional investigation. This can often uncover leaks and poor performing equipment as an example.

More advanced water balances move the boundary being looked at from a facility property to a building boundary, manufacturing process boundary, or even a tool/equipment specific boundary. What is going in the tool and coming out of the tool? This more advanced balance is limited only by metering and estimate points available for use but allows greater measurement of water use within a facility, which in turn allows greater control of those uses.

  • Identify and analyze how water is used in your entire facility analysis must be carried out in the facility to evaluate/understand the traceability of water intake vs. Usage (i.e. which processes) and output (i.e. to ETP). A good methodology would be creating a water balance. A water balance can be basic or advanced depending on needs.
  • The creation of a facility water balance allows facilities to identify unaccounted-for water and provide insight into areas with efficiency improvement opportunities. A water balance, along with historical water use and cost of water, will help build a facility understand the overall water use and savings opportunities to the facility.
  • A basic water balance is an equation used to describe flow of water into and out of the facility. The total metered influents would equal the total of all effluents in an ideal environment (influent = effluent). When they are not equal, there are water losses or consumed: influent – effluent = water losses. Some losses, such as evaporation, are part of normal manufacturing operations.

Here is an example of a basic water balance that demonstrates your inflow vs. outflow of water in your factory:

Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212371716300221

  • Differences greater than 15% represent discrepancies beyond the error of most meters and calculation and suggest the existence of leak or other potential issue. (typically, a calculated water loss of 15%is a good balance, greater than 15% is poor balance and may need to be redone to confirm accuracy. A water loss balance of 0 or negative is usually an error.)
  • A more advanced water balance where each area, building, process, or even equipment has all influents and effluents metered allow a more detailed water balance to be performed. This can show excessive water use in specific areas or buildings etc. For more targeted efficiency improvement.
  • The more frequently a water balance is reviewed, the greater understanding one can have on facility water use and variability. A business needs to balance level of effort with potential value gained. Monthly water balance is recommended as it allows understanding of seasonal trends and variability in water use and typically coincides with most water use billing frequency.

Glossary:

  • Water Balance: A basic water balance is an equation used to describe flow of water into and out of the facility. The total metered influents would equal to the total of all effluents and water losses.

See website for sample – http://waterplanner.gemi.org/calc-waterbalance.asp

Where to go for more info:

How This Will Be Verified:

Yes

  • Documentation Required:
  • The facility has fully implemented a water balance or is able to demonstrate transparently another type of method for conducting analysis to fully understand the traceability of water intake vs. usage and outputs in the facility
  • This report should include the following information:
    • The incoming water in the facility: amount and water sources.
    • The quantity of water used during the production process
    • The quantity of water recycled/reused in the facility
    • The quality of wastewater generated
    • The volume of water discharged after the own treatment
    • The frequency which the water balance is updated

 

  • Interview Questions to Ask:
  • How frequently is the water balance reviewed?
  • What have you learned from the water balance?
  • Were there losses? How big? How were they explained?

 

  • Inspection – Things to Physically Look For:
  • Review water pipeline drawing/diagram/flowchart, check if the factory is knowledgeable regarding their water usage (input throughout output)
  • Sub metering and proper record keeping of water use

 

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