Environmental Footprint

Research Sustainability Environmental Footprint

Environmental Footprint

What is the Environmental Footprint?

The Environmental Footprint measures an organization or industry’s impact on the environment – from direct “in-house” effects, right along the global supply chain. This analysis can be applied to manage environmental sustainability performance, communicate impact to internal and external stakeholders, and form the basis of non-financial reporting.

In the face of climate change, biodiversity loss, and increasingly frequent extreme weather events, business and politics are evolving to respect planetary boundaries. But what impact do supply chains have on the environment? And how can organizations incorporate sustainability in their activities? The Environmental Footprint provides organizations and industries with a comprehensive, evidence-based foundation to manage environmental impact.

How is the Environmental Footprint measured?

WifOR’s Environmental Footprint uses an extended input-output analysis model (put forward by the Scope 3 standard of the GHG Protocol) to measure direct “in-house” effects as well as “upstream” effects, or impacts arising throughout the supply chain.

An extensive range of indicators are included in order to provide a holistic understanding of an organization or industry’s environmental impact. These indicators include:

  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Air pollution
  • Water usage
  • Energy usage
  • Land usage
  • Waste reduction
  • Materials
  • Biodiversity

What does the Environmental Footprint offer organizations and industries?

The Environmental Footprint offers a range of benefits to organizations and industries. These benefits include:

  • Providing a scientific foundation to actively manage sustainability performance in the environmental dimension
  • Identifying critical hotspots along the global value chain, accompanied by detailed analysis categorized according to country, sector, and supplier
  • Supporting non-financial reporting in environmental sustainability and fulfilling Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to meet regulatory requirements and stakeholder demands
  • Sharpening internal company values and overarching objectives
  • Enhancing (internal and external) communication of environmental impact and developing stakeholder-specific messages
  • Contextualizing sustainability performance in the environmental dimension by comparing with relevant benchmarks

Political context

The United Nations has set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on its 2030 Agenda. The SDGs were adopted by all UN Member Nations in 2015 and are a call for global cooperation to promote peace, prosperity, and planetary well-being.

WifOR’s sustainability research supports organizations and industries in orienting themselves to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Environmental Footprint positively contributes to the following SDGs:

The Environmental Impact of Novartis
along Global Supply Chains

Environmental Footprint - Novartis

The Environmental Impact of Novartis
along Global Supply Chains


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