Special Issue "Water Footprint in Supply Chain Management"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dimitrios Vlachos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Statistics and Quantitative Analysis Methods, Division of Industrial Management, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, P.O. Box 461, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: supply chain management; logistics; sustainable supply chains; applied operational research; management, business restructuring and strategy development
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Eirini Aivazidou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Statistics and Quantitative Analysis Methods, Division of Industrial Management, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, P.O. Box 461, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: water footprint management; sustainable supply chains; agrifood systems; green corporate image; industrial engineering; transportation engineering; system dynamics; operations research; holistic decision-making

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Freshwater is a fundamental constituent in major production systems. Specifically, the agricultural and industrial sectors utilise 70% and 22% of the global freshwater supplies, respectively. Furthermore, growing world population, climate change and continuing industrialization impose additional stress on freshwater availability. In this context, projections highlight that more than 40% of the world population will be living in regions facing severe water scarcity in 2050. Consequently, as environmentally sensitive consumers press for water-friendly products, the preservation of freshwater resources has emerged as a major challenge for corporations. In fact, an increasing number of leading companies are incorporating water management initiatives into their corporate responsibility agendas to foster the sustainability of their supply chain networks and enhance their green corporate image.

To capture freshwater consumption and pollution across a product’s life cycle, the scientific community has introduced the water footprint concept. Although research on the water footprint assessment of products, and particularly the water footprint assessment of agrifood industry products, is increasing rapidly, there is an evident lack of a systemic integration of the water footprint aspect into the whole spectrum of the supply chain operations. At the same time, given the environmental and economic ramifications of freshwater overexploitation for both society and businesses, prospective research should focus on: (i) the implementation of corporate water stewardship policies, and (ii) the investigation of their impact on water use minimisation, sustainability performance and supply chain configuration.

The aim of this Special Issue is to explore water-related risks and challenges, as well as water management opportunities, in the modern globalised production landscape from a supply chain perspective. In this context, comprehensive reviews, case studies or original research articles that emphasise the assessment, management or optimisation of the water footprint across entire supply chains are invited for submission.

Prof. Dimitrios Vlachos
Dr. Eirini Aivazidou
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Freshwater consumption and pollution
  • Water footprint assessment
  • Water-based life cycle analysis
  • Water management policies
  • Industrial water efficiency
  • Sustainable water use in agricultural processes
  • Sustainable water use in manufacturing processes
  • Freshwater sustainability in supply chains
  • Water footprint of agrifood supply chains
  • Water footprint reporting and labelling
  • Water management and cyclical economy

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Water Footprint in Supply Chain Management: An Introduction
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2045; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062045 - 16 Jun 2018
Abstract
The aim of this Special Issue is to explore water-related risks and challenges, as well as water management opportunities, in the modern globalised production landscape from an end-to-end supply chain perspective. As environmentally sensitive consumers press for water-friendly products, freshwater resources’ preservation has [...] Read more.
The aim of this Special Issue is to explore water-related risks and challenges, as well as water management opportunities, in the modern globalised production landscape from an end-to-end supply chain perspective. As environmentally sensitive consumers press for water-friendly products, freshwater resources’ preservation has emerged as a major challenge for leading corporations that are incorporating water management initiatives into their social responsibility agendas to foster the sustainability of their supply chain networks. With respect to the scientific community, although research on water footprint assessment is increasing rapidly, the lack of a systemic integration of the water footprint aspect into the whole spectrum of the supply chain operations is evident. In this context, this Special Issue focuses on the investigation of the impact of water stewardship policies on water use and scarcity minimisation, sustainability performance and supply chain configuration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint in Supply Chain Management)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Estimating the Blue Water Footprint of In-Field Crop Losses: A Case Study of U.S. Potato Cultivation
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2854; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082854 - 11 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Given the high proportion of water consumption for agriculture, as well as the relatively common occurrence of crop losses in the field, we estimate the amount of water embedded in crops left on the farm. We are particularly interested in understanding losses associated [...] Read more.
Given the high proportion of water consumption for agriculture, as well as the relatively common occurrence of crop losses in the field, we estimate the amount of water embedded in crops left on the farm. We are particularly interested in understanding losses associated with fruits and vegetables, having a higher level of harvesting selectivity and perishability (and thus, losses) than grain crops. We further refined the study to focus on potatoes, as they represent the largest acreage under cultivation of all fruit and vegetable crops in the U.S. We attempt to get the most complete understanding of pre-harvest and harvest loss data for potatoes by leveraging three centralized data sets collected and managed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). By integrating these three distinct data sets for the five-year period 2012–2016, we are able to estimate water consumption for potato cultivation for total in-field losses by production stage and driver of loss for seven major potato-producing states (representing 77% of total U.S. potato production). Our results suggest that 3.6%–17.9% of potatoes are lost in the field with a total estimated blue water footprint of approximately 84.6 million cubic meters. We also find that the leading driver for crop loss for in-field potato production is harvest sorting and grading, accounting for 84% of total lost production at the farm. We conclude with a discussion of opportunities for improved national level data collection to provide a better understanding of in-field crop losses over time and the resource footprints of these losses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint in Supply Chain Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Blue and Green Water Footprint Assessment for China—A Multi-Region Input–Output Approach
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2822; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082822 - 09 Aug 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Research on blue and green water footprints (WF) for China has typically been carried out based on bottom-up and top-down approach using a single-region input–output table. However, this research typically lacks detail on the sectoral interrelationships which exist between China and its trading [...] Read more.
Research on blue and green water footprints (WF) for China has typically been carried out based on bottom-up and top-down approach using a single-region input–output table. However, this research typically lacks detail on the sectoral interrelationships which exist between China and its trading partners in other countries/regions of the world. Here, a multi-region input–output approach using the WIOD database was applied to quantify the blue and green WF for China in 2009. The quantification was conducted from both production (WFP) and consumption (WFC) perspectives. The results show that the total WFP for China in 2009 was 1152.2 km3, second only to India. At 1070.9 km3, China had the largest WFC volume in the world. The internal WF was 953.5 km3, taking the substantial share for both the WFC and WFP. Overall, China’s trade resulted in a net export of 53.5 km3 virtual water. In contrast, the agricultural sector resulted in a net import of 70.6 km3 virtual water to China, with United States, Brazil, and Canada acting as major suppliers. This study suggests that quantifying the WF of China at global level through a MRIO framework is a necessary step towards achieving sustainability for China’s water management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint in Supply Chain Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Supply Network Maturity Model: Water Scarcity Perspective
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 896; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030896 - 20 Mar 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Today’s supply chains (SCs) are more than ever prone to disruptions caused by natural and man-made events with water scarcity identified as one of the highest impact events among these. Leading businesses, understanding that natural resource scarcity (NRS) has become a critical supply [...] Read more.
Today’s supply chains (SCs) are more than ever prone to disruptions caused by natural and man-made events with water scarcity identified as one of the highest impact events among these. Leading businesses, understanding that natural resource scarcity (NRS) has become a critical supply chain risk factor, extensively incorporate sustainable water management programmes into their corporate social responsibility and environmental management agenda. The question of how industries can efficiently evaluate the progress of these water scarcity mitigation practices, however, remains open. In order to address this question, the present study proposes a conceptual maturity model. The model is rooted in strategies for water scarcity mitigation using a framework developed by Yatskovskaya and Srai and develops an extensive literature review of recent publications on maturity frameworks in the fields of sustainability and operations management. In order to test the proposed proposed, model an exploratory case study with a leading pharmaceutical company was conducted. The proposed maturity model presents an evaluation tool that allows systematic assessment and visualisation of organisational routines and practices relevant to sustainable manufacturing in the context of water scarcity. This model was designed to help illustrate mitigation capabilities evolution over time, where future state desired capabilities were considered through alternative supply network (SN) configurations, network structure, process flow, product architecture, and supply partnerships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint in Supply Chain Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Blue Water Footprint Management in a UK Poultry Supply Chain under Environmental Regulatory Constraints
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 625; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030625 - 28 Feb 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Chicken is the most consumed meat in the UK, accounting for 40% of meat consumption, while national production sufficiency reaches about 80%. As a farmed animal product, chicken meat is responsible for significant freshwater appropriation volumes during its production cycle. In this context, [...] Read more.
Chicken is the most consumed meat in the UK, accounting for 40% of meat consumption, while national production sufficiency reaches about 80%. As a farmed animal product, chicken meat is responsible for significant freshwater appropriation volumes during its production cycle. In this context, this research aims at exploring freshwater dynamics in the UK processed poultry industry. Specifically, we develop a System Dynamics model to capture the blue water footprint, as a key sustainability performance indicator of a poultry supply chain, in the case that relevant environmental and regulatory constraints are applied. The model contributes towards investigating the impact of two potential policy-making scenarios, namely, the “water penalty” and the “water tax”, on the nexus between profitability and water usage across the poultry supply chain. Responding to the regulatory constraints, the food processor either reconfigures the supply chain through rethinking desired inventory levels or implements a water management intervention. The results indicate that investing in water-friendly production technologies could offer a greater advantage to sustainable supply chains in terms of blue water efficiency and profitability, compared to employing inventory management strategies. Overall, our analysis highlights that effective policy-making and technology-driven interventions could provide potential towards ensuring economic growth and environmental sustainability of the UK poultry sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint in Supply Chain Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Managing Water Sustainability: Virtual Water Flows and Economic Water Productivity Assessment of the Wine Trade between Italy and the Balkans
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020543 - 18 Feb 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
The management of natural resources in economic activities has become a fundamental issue when considering the perspective of sustainable development. It is necessary to rethink every process in order to reach efficiency from different points of view, not only environmentally but also economically. [...] Read more.
The management of natural resources in economic activities has become a fundamental issue when considering the perspective of sustainable development. It is necessary to rethink every process in order to reach efficiency from different points of view, not only environmentally but also economically. Water scarcity is growing because of economic and population growth, climate change, and the increasing water demand. Currently, agri-food represents the most water consumptive sector, and the increasing importance of international trade in this industry puts freshwater issues in a global context that should be analyzed and regulated by sustainable policies. This analysis is focused on virtual water flows and economic water productivity related to the wine trade, and aims to evaluate water loss/savings achieved through bilateral trade relations. The choice fell on Italy, the first wine producer in the world, and the Balkan countries. The latter are new markets for wine production/consumption, in which Italian wines are strongly positioned for different reasons. The results show that, from a national point of view and considering wine trade, Italy exports water in virtual form to the Balkan countries, more than it imports, so that in effect it partially uses its own water resources for the wine supply of the Balkans. The latter, on the other hand, being a net importer of wine, partially depends on Italian water resources and exerts less pressure on their own water basins in the supporting wine supply. We also observed that the wine trade between Italy and the Balkans implies global water savings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint in Supply Chain Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Green and Blue Water Footprints in the Supply Chain of Cocoa Production: A Case Study in the Northeast of Colombia
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010038 - 25 Dec 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
Cocoa is an important commercial crop in the tropics, and estimating the water footprint to target areas of improvement is a worthwhile effort. The main goal of this paper was to assess the regional green and blue water footprints (WF) of cocoa ( [...] Read more.
Cocoa is an important commercial crop in the tropics, and estimating the water footprint to target areas of improvement is a worthwhile effort. The main goal of this paper was to assess the regional green and blue water footprints (WF) of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) production in the department of Norte de Santander, Colombia. Water footprint assessment was based on the Water Footprint Assessment Manual. The results show that the green water footprint was about 13,189 m3/ton, and the blue water footprint was 5687 m3/ton. The WF proposed method can be a good approximation for the uses of water for different crops, but weather conditions and hydrological modeling must be considered in extreme conditions, which would permit a much more detailed analysis for a region. This study allowed us to provide data on the cocoa water footprint, principally concentrating on elevated grain production in the department of Norte de Santander, Colombia. In addition, some of these results may positively contribute to water resource management improvement, especially regarding food security and water scarcity, both at the local and national levels. Therefore, the cocoa production process was analyzed from agronomic practices in settled crops, through the primary processing of the grain, to the procedures of grain selection and packaging. Thus, taking into consideration that most cocoa crops produced in Colombia are not irrigated, it is possible to implement productivity enhancement programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprint in Supply Chain Management)
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