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Apparel

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Sector Overview

The global apparel and textile sector designs, produces, and distributes yarn, cloth, and clothing while providing employment for more than 60 million people. It is one of the largest industries in the world, valued in the trillions.

The apparel sector uses and impacts water across the entire value chain, but the biggest water risks to apparel companies lie in cotton cultivation, fabric production, and consumer laundering, which rely on and affect significant quantities of water as well as water quality. Cotton cultivation in irrigated agricultural regions relies on water availability, introducing water risk to businesses in cases of water scarcity. The water used in agriculture can also carry excess nutrients into surrounding environments, negatively impacting local communities and ecosystems. While fabric production requires water to wash, process, and dye the yarn and cloth, the real impact on river basins has to do with water quality and pollution from dyes and other chemicals. Finally, consumer laundering uses vast quantities of water. Water risk is amplified in geographies that experience high water stress; several countries with significant apparel operations already facing water stress include China, India, USA, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Brazil.

Over the last several years, many apparel sector companies have made considerable progress on water-related operational efficiencies (including pollution reduction) within their facilities. Leading companies are now starting to re-orient their stewardship strategies to address water risks at the river basin level by collaborating with other private and public sector stakeholders. These river basin projects help address the root causes of water risk that threaten businesses, communities and ecosystems alike by establishing water stewardship partnerships that secure water for all water users. These collaborative stewardship projects also contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

Organizations in Apparel


Abercrombie &amp; Fitch is an American lifestyle retailer that focuses on casual wear. Its headquarters are in New Albany, Ohio. The company operates three other offshoot brands: Abercrombie Kids, Hollister Co., and Gilly Hicks As of February 2020, the company … Learn More

The Alliance for Water Efficiency is a membership NGO dedicated to promoting the efficient and sustainable use of water in North America and beyond. Areas of interest include conservation program design and evaluation, technical assistance, consideration of water and energy … Learn More

Our Mission is to manufacture our product in a sustainable manners. We are focusing on to conserve water and recyled more and more waste water that is generted from our processes. Learn More

Burberry designs, develops, makes and sells products under the Burberry brand. The company is committed to respecting the environment, minimising the environmental impacts of our own operations and activities in our supply chain. Learn More

Cole Haan, LLC, with its Global Headquarters in Greenland, NH and Creative Center in New York City, is an iconic American lifestyle accessories brand and retailer of premium men's, women's, and children's footwear, handbags, leather accessories, outerwear and eyewear. Cole … Learn More

Somos una empresa dedicada a la comercialización y fabricación de productos textiles, cuya excelencia competitiva está basada en la eficiencia de los procesos administrativos, comerciales e industriales; nuestro cliente objetivo son las empresas de confección; nuestras acciones están orientadas por … Learn More

The Gap, Inc., commonly known as Gap Inc. or Gap, is an American worldwide clothing and accessories retailer. Our purpose is to be Inclusive, By Design. Gap Inc. includes apparel brands Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta. Learn More

Be a leader in water stewardship for the fashion industry, working both with reducing the water footprint of our value chain and engaging to promote better water governance in strategic, high risk river basins to secure availability and quality of … Learn More

Industria de Diseño Textil, S.A. is a Spanish multinational clothing company headquartered in Arteixo, Galicia. Inditex, the biggest fashion group in the world, operates over 7,200 stores in 93 markets worldwide. Learn More

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Levi Strauss &amp; Co. is a privately held American clothing company known worldwide for its Levi's brand of denim jeans. Learn More

Founded in 1983, Nautica is a leading water-inspired global lifestyle brand including men’s, women’s and children’s apparel and accessories and a complete home collection. At Nautica we celebrate, love and respect the water, everywhere, everyday. As a global lifestyle brand … Learn More

Denim fabric manufacturing by meeting all sustainable parameters, water stewardship, and environmental safeguarding. Learn More

Pioneering thinking, transformative insights, and tangible outcomes that accelerate your journey to the cloud, aligning technologies to your core business strategies – enabling long-term growth from your investments What we deliver Pioneering thinking, transformative insights, and tangible outcomes that accelerate … Learn More

NIKE, Inc., based near Beaverton, Oregon, USA, is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned Nike subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, … Learn More

PVH Corp, formerly known as the Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, is an American clothing company which owns brands such as Van Heusen, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, IZOD, Arrow, and licenses brands such as Geoffrey Beene, BCBG Max Azria, Chaps, Sean John, … Learn More

Strengthen the customer brand value by our competence in development and manufacturing of high-quality functional clothing in a sustainable and responsible way. Learn More

Processing hemp fibers in a sustainable way, so cotton can be replaced in textiles. Hemp uses 70-80% less water than cotton. Hemp does not need chemicals to grow, and improves the soil. Yield of hemp is much higher than cotton, … Learn More

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Woolworths Holdings Limited is an investment holding company, listed on the JSE Limited since 1997. It operates mainly through two subsidiaries, Woolworths (Proprietary) Limited and Country Road Limited and through a joint venture, Woolworths Financial Services (Proprietary) Limited. Caring for … Learn More

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Projects in Apparel


It has also become apparent that in the Ceres region, coupled with recurrent drought, issues of groundwater are increasingly becoming a problem for the farmers. Groundwater is usually used for emergency water but in Ceres particularly, farmers are very dependent … Learn More

Additional partner: Institute for Sustainable Communities CONTEXT The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Gap Inc. share a common interest in improving the health and well-being of the women, families, and communities touched by the global apparel industry … Learn More

It has also become apparent that in the Ceres region, coupled with recurrent drought, issues of groundwater are increasingly becoming a problem for the farmers. Groundwater is usually used for emergency water but in Ceres particularly, farmers are very dependent … Learn More

We work with our suppliers to decrease their water footprints over time and to determine any risk to the supply of products. This is done by implementing annual Water Footprint Index (WFI) assessments, as part of the Farming for the … Learn More

In 2019, we expanded our engagement to the water-scarce Sabie & Crocodile catchment area in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa Ð an area which is strategically important for sourcing our citrus fruit and nuts. At the end of June … Learn More

The Woolworths Water Fund was established two years ago in response to the South African governmentÕs declaration that the drought in South Africa is a national disaster. In partnership with My School My Village MyPlanet, it aims to raise much-needed … Learn More

The Diageo Water Blueprint lays out a roadmap for the company to address water challenges across four key areas: Sourcing. Diageo works closely with its suppliers to reduce water impacts in its supply chain by providing tools for its suppliers, … Learn More

In 2011, the CEO Water Mandate and UNEP worked with Levi, Nike, H&amp;M, and Nautica on a collective action project intended to improve corporate water management among apparel companies in Cambodia and Vietnam.The project’s overarching goal was to improve water … Learn More

Burberry has implemented a programme working closely with the Natural Resource Defense Council's Clean By Design programme to reduce water and energy consumption at key supply chain partner facilities.This programme assesses site level water and energy efficiency and identifies opportunities … Learn More

We are working to integrate more sustainable materials, which are less vulnerable to climate and other environmental impacts, into our product design and sourcing practices. We are also working to use more sustainable fabrics and raw materials (such as Gap … Learn More

As part of our global program for direct suppliers, we ensure that compliance with wastewater standards is enforced and work in improving efficiency in water intense processes such as denim production. We also screen our suppliers against publicly available data … Learn More

In 2017, Inditex continued to integrate sustainability criteria for the use of water in all of its business areas, thanks to the implementation of its Global Water Management Strategy. The rational use of water and our commitment to “zero discharge” … Learn More

We are participating in the Race to the Top partnership in Vietnam between other apparel brands, ILO/Better Work and the Vietnamese, Danish and Dutch governments. Race to The Top aims to build a sustainable garment industry in Vietnam through a … Learn More

Bring the water quality from “low” to “good” status (according to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization standards), especially in highly polluted critical spots; Create a basin wide partnership with agreed conservation targets in key biodiversity areas; reduce water, chemicals … Learn More

The project was deployed in a Government Higher Secondary School near Vellore, a couple of hours from Chennai, India. The project was a collaboration between Planet Water Foundation and Cole Haan as well as Cole Haan's local supplier companies. Before … Learn More

The textile project’s vision is “transforming the textile sector in Vietnam and engaging sectoral and environmental governance in order to bring social, economic and conservation benefits to the country and the entire Mekong region”. This vision will be achieved by … Learn More

Taihu Basin in China is a typical illustration of how water risk is shared among business, government and local communities. Hundreds of international and domestic brands are headquartered or source their products from the region, nearly 10,000 textile printing and … Learn More

In 2017, Inditex continued to integrate sustainability criteria for the use of water in all of its business areas, thanks to the implementation of its Global Water Management Strategy. The rational use of water and zero discharge commitment of undesirable … Learn More

In 2017, Inditex continued to integrate sustainability criteria for the use of water in all of its business areas, thanks to the implementation of its Global Water Management Strategy. The rational use of water and zero discharge commitment of undesirable … Learn More

In order to cope with extreme droughts that may affect quality, quantity and price of water intensive raw materials, Inditex is fostering the use of materials obtained from more sustainable sources. Raw material choices are closely intertwined with our biodiversity, … Learn More

VISION By 2030, Noyyal and Bhavani are healthy river eco-systems that ensure water security for people and nature. The main objectives are: By 2019, establish the interactions and trade-offs between users and sectors in representative zones of the Bhavani and … Learn More

Initiated community RO water plants in partnership with local Gram Panchayats based on a viable business model where in HZL provides capital costs and funds gap in operational funding for the first few years. Three such community RO plants were … Learn More

We have signed a $2.3 million cooperation agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to help us meet our corporate sustainability objectives to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and water use in our … Learn More

Partnered with the City of Cape Town to develop a system whereby the facility would use only recycled water. Typically, treated wastewater in Cape Town and other coastal cities is discharged into the ocean. But by returning treated water to … Learn More

In FY17, we deployed the NIKE Water Minimum Program to every key supplier making fabric for NIKE, setting several important performance expectations. It requires suppliers to create sitewater balance, a management tool that allows facilities to understand where their water … Learn More

Ramatex facility in Suzhou, China, installed state-of-the-art wastewater treatment technology. That made the plantÕs treated wastewater significantly cleaner than discharge regulations required, so it was relatively easy and cost-effective to install a wastewater recycling system. By the end of FY19, … Learn More

In FY17, Formosa Taffeta Changshu, a materials vendor, was near the bottom of our global ranking in terms of freshwater efficiency. Considering all freshwater use (rather than just for dyeing and finishing), its FY16 baseline was 205 liters of freshwater … Learn More

We will advance our watershed-restoration program in water-stressed regions of our cotton supply chain. NIKEÕs watershed restoration work is focused on our extended cotton supply chain. The primary benefit of these watershed-restoration projects is not only reductions in our freshwater … Learn More

Gap Inc. and longtime sourcing and franchise partner Arvind Limited launched this Center of Excellence to catalyze innovative water scarcity solutions for the apparel industry. The new innovation center, opening in 2020, will promote the adoption of proven, scalable strategies … Learn More

WWF’s water risk assessment identified priority regions for PVH to focus our collective action water stewardship initiatives based on the level of risk defined by the WWF’s Water Risk Filter tool and PVH's sourcing communities. One of those key locations … Learn More

In 2017, Tommy Hilfiger, in collaboration with other apparel companies, conducted water training for suppliers focused on water awareness and measuring impacts. We trained the supply base in the basin on how they contribute to water issues, and the measures … Learn More

The CEO Water Mandate launched this collaboration to help companies set water stewardship targets to both address their business-related water challenges and build the resilience of the broader catchment. Crucially, the pilot project informs target-setting through a local lens: because … Learn More

In Lebanon, after the explosion that devastated Beirut on August 4, 2020, the Foundation�s Veoliaforce experts took emergency action on August 11. An assessment and technical diagnostics were carried out alongside the Beirut Water Authority and with the support of … Learn More

Hit at the end of August 2020 by heavy rains, Niamey spent the end of the summer under water: more than 350,000 people were affected. In the face of this situation, the Veolia Foundation took action. A team of Veoliaforce … Learn More

It is estimated that one in five people are employed in global supply chains. Corporations have the potential to play an influential role in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, “ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for … Learn More

H&M Is part of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which is a non-profit, multistakeholder governance group that promotes better standards in cotton farming and practices across 21 countries. H&M: "As of 2020, we only source recycled cotton, organic cotton, or … Learn More

"To help the textile industry develop clothing that doesn�t emit microplastics, we�re part of the MinShed project led by the Swedish research group RISE." MinShed: The goal is to create knowledge and guidelines that will help the textile industry to … Learn More

In the Taihu basin of the lower Yangtze River in China, WWF and H&M group launched the first Water Stewardship Industrial Park project, where more than 20 factories collaborated to improve water management. The partnership developed an Industrial Park Guideline … Learn More

With support from H&M group, WWF completed two key research reports, exploring the political and economic challenges and opportunities around water within Bangladesh. Leveraging these findings, the partnership actively engaged policymakers for more sustainable water management in Bangladesh, with a … Learn More

Building on the success of previous partnerships activities in China and Bangladesh, our work in Turkey focused on improving water management methods and policies in the B�y�k Menderes river basin. The river runs from central Turkey to the Aegean Sea … Learn More

WaterAid�s sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene programme, or SusWASH, is a five-year initiative aimed at addressing the long-term challenges of service sustainability and behaviour sustainability, as well as ensuring WASH services can be provided to all groups in society. The … Learn More

Woolworths invests annually in WWF-SA�s Water Balance project, which aims to protect some of South Africa�s most important water source areas through the removal of alien (invasive) vegetation that is estimated to capture up to 7% of South Africa�s already … Learn More

PVH is committed to working with its suppliers and other stakeholders to preserve water resources in communities where we work and live, particularly in high-risk river basins in those areas. Tommy Hilfiger’s work with WWF on the Taihu Water Stewardship … Learn More

We consider risks associated with water availability and quality in the evaluation of new real-estate or expansion opportunities (including water efficient fixtures and fittings, water-wise gardens, rainwater harvesting etc.) and are guided by our Green Building protocol to ensure that … Learn More

The Water Resilience Coalition (WRC), an industry-driven, CEO-led initiative convening global companies to address the global water crisis, today announced the launch of the Women + Water Collaborative, a flagship corporate collective action program to improve access to clean water … Learn More

We completed in 2019 a highly successful, four-year grant programme in collaboration with Water.org to expand access to safe water and sanitation services for those living in poverty across Bangladesh and Cambodia. The programme exceeded all of its targets and … Learn More

Work commenced on a pilot project in Myanmar in 2019, with the support of local organisation Aung Myin Hmu, to improve food storage facilities and the supply of drinking water in five factories from our supply chain, reaching a total … Learn More

In parallel, and to ensure our ZDHC Commitment hasthe maximum guarantees as regards the responsibleuse of chemical substances, in 2016, we launcheda multidisciplinary applied research programme inpartnership with academic institutions and research centresof international standing. The goal is to develop … Learn More

We have been granted authorisation from Aguas de Galicia to reuse 100% of water from the outflow of the treatment plant located in the facilities of Indipunt in Nar�n. The advanced technology installed in this facility enables water to be … Learn More

Burberry has flood emergency plans that are ready to be implemented. Burberry also engages with other stakeholders in the supply chain to improve the resilience of the community to water risk. Burberry has also invested in the site to improve … Learn More

Currently, California is in the midst of a drought of historic proportions, with severe impacts on ecosystems, communities, farms, and businesses. Connect the Drops is a business-led campaign, elevating the voice of California businesses in favor of resilient water supply … Learn More

We are working as part of a business collective through the We Mean Business commitment (climate and water) as well as the NBI to drive partnership between business and government. We have developed a strong climate change response strategy and … Learn More

Burberry has been undergoing research to review the farming practices in New Zealand to better understand the risks associated with water pollution. Burberry has also engaged directly with New Zealand suppliers on this topic. A significant challenge in addressing water … Learn More

The International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP) seeks to initiate multi-stakeholder partnerships with the private sector, the public sector and the civil society in order to formulate and implement measures to improve water security for all parties. Woolworth and M&S; receive … Learn More


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