Water footprint management policies for agrifood supply chains: A critical taxonomy and a system dynamics modelling approach Academic Article uri icon


  • Copyright 2015, AIDIC Servizi S.r.l. During the last decade, as the overexploitation and scarcity of the global natural water resources have led to a plethora of negative environmental, social and economic impacts, the preservation of freshwater resources has emerged as a major challenge for governmental authorities, businesses and consumers. To that effect, the concept of water footprint (WF) has been introduced at a national, corporate and product level. Since national WFs are obtained mainly from agricultural production and food manufacturing or processing operations, WF assessment and management are considered to be of utmost importance for the agrifood industry. In this context, several agrifood companies map the WF of their supply chain networks as a part of their corporate social responsibility programmes. In this manuscript, we first review the scientific literature and several real-world corporate sustainability reports and we then provide a critical taxonomy of management policies that mitigate the water WF at each echelon of an agrifood supply chain (AFSC). Following that, a firsteffort System Dynamics (SD) model that effectively captures the dynamics of the WF and water scarcity along the entire supply chains of agrifood products is developed. The obtained simulation results reveal the need for responsible freshwater management across AFSCs in order to reduce the total WF and to further create a green corporate image. The literature taxonomy along with the proposed SD modelling approach is anticipated to provide value-added managerial insights with respect to corporate policy-making interventions towards the sustainable development of the agrifood sector.

published proceedings

  • Chemical Engineering Transactions

author list (cited authors)

  • Aivazidou, E., Tsolakis, N., Vlachos, D., & Iakovou, E.

complete list of authors

  • Aivazidou, E||Tsolakis, N||Vlachos, D||Iakovou, E

publication date

  • January 2015