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Markus Berger

Bio: Markus Berger is an academic researcher from Technical University of Berlin. The author has contributed to research in topics: Water use & Water scarcity. The author has an hindex of 22, co-authored 72 publications receiving 2300 citations.


Papers
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This method represents the state of the art of the current knowledge on how to assess potential impacts from water use in LCA, assessing both human and ecosystem users’ potential deprivation, at the midpoint level, and provides a consensus-based methodology for the calculation of a water scarcity footprint as per ISO 14046.
Abstract: Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been used to assess freshwater-related impacts according to a new water footprint framework formalized in the ISO 14046 standard. To date, no consensus-based approach exists for applying this standard and results are not always comparable when different scarcity or stress indicators are used for characterization of impacts. This paper presents the outcome of a 2-year consensus building process by the Water Use in Life Cycle Assessment (WULCA), a working group of the UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative, on a water scarcity midpoint method for use in LCA and for water scarcity footprint assessments. In the previous work, the question to be answered was identified and different expert workshops around the world led to three different proposals. After eliminating one proposal showing low relevance for the question to be answered, the remaining two were evaluated against four criteria: stakeholder acceptance, robustness with closed basins, main normative choice, and physical meaning. The recommended method, AWARE, is based on the quantification of the relative available water remaining per area once the demand of humans and aquatic ecosystems has been met, answering the question “What is the potential to deprive another user (human or ecosystem) when consuming water in this area?” The resulting characterization factor (CF) ranges between 0.1 and 100 and can be used to calculate water scarcity footprints as defined in the ISO standard. After 8 years of development on water use impact assessment methods, and 2 years of consensus building, this method represents the state of the art of the current knowledge on how to assess potential impacts from water use in LCA, assessing both human and ecosystem users’ potential deprivation, at the midpoint level, and provides a consensus-based methodology for the calculation of a water scarcity footprint as per ISO 14046.

455 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors reviewed a multitude of methods and indicators for freshwater use potentially applicable in life cycle assessment and identified the key elements to build a scientific consensus for operational characterization methods for LCA.
Abstract: In recent years, several methods have been developed which propose different freshwater use inventory schemes and impact assessment characterization models considering various cause–effect chain relationships. This work reviewed a multitude of methods and indicators for freshwater use potentially applicable in life cycle assessment (LCA). This review is used as a basis to identify the key elements to build a scientific consensus for operational characterization methods for LCA. This evaluation builds on the criteria and procedure developed within the International Reference Life Cycle Data System Handbook and has been adapted for the purpose of this project. It therefore includes (1) description of relevant cause–effect chains, (2) definition of criteria to evaluate the existing methods, (3) development of sub-criteria specific to freshwater use, and (4) description and review of existing methods addressing freshwater in LCA. No single method is available which comprehensively describes all potential impacts derived from freshwater use. However, this review highlights several key findings to design a characterization method encompassing all the impact pathways of the assessment of freshwater use and consumption in life cycle assessment framework as the following: (1) in most of databases and methods, consistent freshwater balances are not reported either because output is not considered or because polluted freshwater is recalculated based on a critical dilution approach; (2) at the midpoint level, most methods are related to water scarcity index and correspond to the methodological choice of an indicator simplified in terms of the number of parameters (scarcity) and freshwater uses (freshwater consumption or freshwater withdrawal) considered. More comprehensive scarcity indices distinguish different freshwater types and functionalities. (3) At the endpoint level, several methods already exist which report results in units compatible with traditional human health and ecosystem quality damage and cover various cause–effect chains, e.g., the decrease of terrestrial biodiversity due to freshwater consumption. (4) Midpoint and endpoint indicators have various levels of spatial differentiation, i.e., generic factors with no differentiation at all, or country, watershed, and grid cell differentiation. Existing databases should be (1) completed with input and output freshwater flow differentiated according to water types based on its origin (surface water, groundwater, and precipitation water stored as soil moisture), (2) regionalized, and (3) if possible, characterized with a set of quality parameters. The assessment of impacts related to freshwater use is possible by assembling methods in a comprehensive methodology to characterize each use adequately.

309 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An overview of a broad range of methods developed to enable accounting and impact assessment of water use can be found in this article, where a critical review revealed that methodological scopes differ regarding types of water usage accounted for, inclusion of local water scarcity, as well as differentiation between watercourses and quality aspects.
Abstract: As freshwater is a vital yet often scarce resource, the life cycle assessment community has put great efforts in method development to properly address water use. The International Organization for Standardization has recently even launched a project aiming at creating an international standard for ‘water footprinting’. This paper provides an overview of a broad range of methods developed to enable accounting and impact assessment of water use. The critical review revealed that methodological scopes differ regarding types of water use accounted for, inclusion of local water scarcity, as well as differentiation between watercourses and quality aspects. As the application of the most advanced methods requires high resolution inventory data, the trade-off between ‘precision’ and ‘applicability’ needs to be addressed in future studies and in the new international standard.

253 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The water accounting and vulnerability evaluation (WAVE) model is introduced, which can help to interpret volumetric water footprint figures and, thus, promotes a sustainable use of global freshwater resources.
Abstract: Aiming to enhance the analysis of water consumption and resulting consequences along the supply chain of products, the water accounting and vulnerability evaluation (WAVE) model is introduced. On the accounting level, atmospheric evaporation recycling within drainage basins is considered for the first time, which can reduce water consumption volumes by up to 32%. Rather than predicting impacts, WAVE analyzes the vulnerability of basins to freshwater depletion. Based on local blue water scarcity, the water depletion index (WDI) denotes the risk that water consumption can lead to depletion of freshwater resources. Water scarcity is determined by relating annual water consumption to availability in more than 11,000 basins. Additionally, WDI accounts for the presence of lakes and aquifers which have been neglected in water scarcity assessments so far. By setting WDI to the highest value in (semi)arid basins, absolute freshwater shortage is taken into account in addition to relative scarcity. This avoids mathematical artifacts of previous indicators which turn zero in deserts if consumption is zero. As illustrated in a case study of biofuels, WAVE can help to interpret volumetric water footprint figures and, thus, promotes a sustainable use of global freshwater resources.

141 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jun 2018-Science
TL;DR: Cumulatively, the findings support an approach where producers monitor their own impacts, flexibly meet environmental targets by choosing from multiple practices, and communicate their impacts to consumers.
Abstract: Food’s environmental impacts are created by millions of diverse producers. To identify solutions that are effective under this heterogeneity, we consolidated data covering five environmental indicators; 38,700 farms; and 1600 processors, packaging types, and retailers. Impact can vary 50-fold among producers of the same product, creating substantial mitigation opportunities. However, mitigation is complicated by trade-offs, multiple ways for producers to achieve low impacts, and interactions throughout the supply chain. Producers have limits on how far they can reduce impacts. Most strikingly, impacts of the lowest-impact animal products typically exceed those of vegetable substitutes, providing new evidence for the importance of dietary change. Cumulatively, our findings support an approach where producers monitor their own impacts, flexibly meet environmental targets by choosing from multiple practices, and communicate their impacts to consumers.

2,353 citations

Book
22 Feb 2011
TL;DR: The Water Footprint Network (WFN) as mentioned in this paper is a set of definitions and methods for water footprint accounting, as well as a library of water footprint response options for consumers, nations, and businesses.
Abstract: This manual presents a scientifically rigorous method to help companies understand their dependency and impact on global water resources, and offers guidance on response strategies that conserve water for industry, communities, and nature. It contains the global standard for water footprint assessment as developed and maintained by the Water Footprint Network. It covers a comprehensive set of definitions and methods for water footprint accounting. It shows how water footprints are calculated for individual processes and products, as well as for consumers, nations, and businesses. It also includes methods for water footprint sustainability assessment and a library of water footprint response options. The water footprint of a product is the volume of freshwater used to produce the product, measured over the fully supply chain. It is a multidimensional indicator, showing water consumption volumes by source and polluted volumes by type of pollution; all components of a total water footprint are specified geographically and temporally.

1,727 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
06 Jun 2014-Science
TL;DR: This work reviews current footprints and relates those to maximum sustainable levels, highlighting the need for future work on combining footprints, assessing trade-offs between them, improving computational techniques, estimating maximum sustainable footprint levels, and benchmarking efficiency of resource use.
Abstract: Within the context of Earth’s limited natural resources and assimilation capacity, the current environmental footprint of humankind is not sustainable. Assessing land, water, energy, material, and other footprints along supply chains is paramount in understanding the sustainability, efficiency, and equity of resource use from the perspective of producers, consumers, and government. We review current footprints and relate those to maximum sustainable levels, highlighting the need for future work on combining footprints, assessing trade-offs between them, improving computational techniques, estimating maximum sustainable footprint levels, and benchmarking efficiency of resource use. Ultimately, major transformative changes in the global economy are necessary to reduce humanity’s environmental footprint to sustainable levels

738 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An overview of the definitions and units of measurement associated with environmental, social, and economic footprints is presented in this paper, where composite footprints combining two or more individual footprints are also assessed.

726 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors explore the current status of Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) for products and processes, and present a series of communication tools for both experts and non experts.
Abstract: Sustainability is nowadays accepted by all stakeholders as a guiding principle for both public policy making and corporate strategies. However, the biggest challenge for most organizations remains in the real and substantial implementation of the sustainability concept. The core of the implementation challenge is the question, how sustainability performance can be measured, especially for products and processes. This paper explores the current status of Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) for products and processes. For the environmental dimension well established tools like Life Cycle Assessment are available. For the economic and social dimension, there is still need for consistent and robust indicators and methods. In addition to measuring the individual sustainability dimensions, another challenge is a comprehensive, yet understandable presentation of the results. The “Life Cycle Sustainability Dashboard” and the “Life Cycle Sustainability Triangle” are presented as examples for communication tools for both experts and non expert stakeholders.

656 citations