One-third of the world's countries are threatened by a shortage of water. To ensure all people have access to clean water, from a global perspective, we need to achieve more efficient water use and avoid over-extraction from risk areas. We also need to minimise contamination of water sources.
Agriculture's water footprint
Agriculture accounts for about 70% of global water use, primarily through irrigation. The agriculture sector also has an impact on water resources through the leaching of nutrients and crop protection substances that can contaminate water bodies. Imports and exports of food and other agricultural products between different parts of the world also move water resources globally, which can be a problem in the case of exports from water-stressed areas.
Water availability and water use are areas where we are continuously increasing our knowledge in order to manage long-term risks and opportunities. Swedish farmers have been working to minimise the risks of leaching and pollution for some time. We are also working closely with other stakeholders to find solutions to common challenges in food production.
Most rainfall in the cultivation stage
Knowledge of how different raw materials and their origins affect water resources is a prerequisite to moving development in the right direction. With this in mind, we have calculated the water footprint for three different types of products that represent a large part of our production – Idealmakaroner (macaroni), grain ethanol and wheat flour. A massive 99 percent of the water footprint for the analysed products comes in the cultivation stage. However, grain is grown in Sweden with regular rainfall, which means there is a minimal direct impact on water availability.