WFI History

Water Footprint Implementation is a passionate collective of experts which builds upon the work of the late professor Arjen Hoekstra and the Water Footprint Network.

In 2002, Arjen Hoekstra, whilst working at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, created the water footprint as a metric to measure the amount of water consumed and polluted to produce goods and services along their full supply chain.

Interest in the water footprint grew rapidly after its introduction in academic literature. In 2007, companies, in particular food and beverage companies such as Unilever, SABMiller, Heineken, Coca-Cola, Nestle and Pepsico, became increasingly aware of their water dependence and the water-related risk facing their companies.

In 2008, Hoekstra, professor in water management at the University of Twente since 2005, together with leading global players from business, civil society, multilateral organisations and academia, founded the Water Footprint Network with the aim of bringing together some of the brightest minds committed to demonstrating how Water Footprint Assessment can help us overcome the challenges of unsustainable water use.

In 2017, in consultation with prof. Hoekstra and his team we decided to divide the work and create a new venture, a start-up dedicated to bringing the concept into practice. One team continues the scientific and advisory work under the not-for-profit Water Footprint Network (WFN), and another team focuses on implementation and the realization of solutions under the Water Footprint Implementation private company. While we work closely together and benefit from each other’s’ expertise, we are two independent organizations. WFN and WFI both believe that working together with a worldwide network of experts, sharing expertise, working from a collaborative spirit, is the best way to reduce the Water Footprint worldwide.

In memoriam

In November 2019, unexpectedly and leaving great sadness behind, Professor Arjen Hoekstra passed away. At only 52 years old, Arjen Hoekstra was still working on the development and worldwide uptake of the Water Footprint concept. He has left a great body of work and scientific legacy behind which we will strive to continue, keeping true to his vision.