Carbon footprint analysis of bottled water

PRé reviewed supply chains for NIKA, a bottled water producer, to update its carbon footprint analyses and maintain a CarbonFree certification. This resulted in a benchmark for comparison, and successful application for the certificate.


A bottled water producer, NIKA, wanted to offset the carbon emissions generated during production, and maintain its CarbonFree® certification with NIKA conducted a similar analysis in 2009 to first gain this certification. This updated analysis reflects NIKA’s new products, which utilize more recycled materials, as well as changes in supplier materials. This update also enables NIKA to be transparent with its customers about the production of their bottled water products. 


PRé and NIKA established primary objectives for the study and reviewed changes in NIKA’s supply chain that had occurred since the previous carbon footprinting analysis in 2009. Afterward, PRé assisted NIKA in primary data collection. Secondary data sources were used to model processes not directly controlled by NIKA Carbon emissions at each life-cycle stage, from raw material production to water bottle disposal, were quantified to complete the product footprint. PRé found that NIKA’s bottled water manufacturing had minimal impacts. The retail phase, which includes display in refrigerated cases, is the primary contributor to the impacts associated with the bottled water product. The results for a half-liter bottle, presented here, also indicate that a sizable portion of impacts come from the production of raw materials (e.g., plastics), an area outside of NIKA’s control. Since the 2009 carbon footprint, NIKA has taken steps to use more recycled plastics, to further reduce impacts. Transportation, particularly of the filled water product, from manufacturing facilities to distribution outlets to retail stores, contributes almost a quarter of the carbon footprint. While NIKA has already taken steps to reduce upstream transportation distances through local sourcing, additional benefits may be gained by implementing more efficient downstream transportation.


Working with PRé, NIKA discovered the following value-driven benefits:

  • Achievement of the second certification
  • Awareness of the environmental advantages of using recycled plastics instead of virgin plastics
  • Visibility into the impacts of sourcing and material changes to its supply chain. Among other benefits, this insight allowed NIKA to achieve a significant reduction in transportation carbon emissions (65 percent) through local sourcing
  • Benchmark for internal comparisons of additional products

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