The clothing industry is the world’s third largest consumer of water at a time when the global water shortage is growing. Traditional clothing production requires a lot of water, especially to dye yarns, threads and fabrics.
The main issues are water efficiency, water pollution prevention and wastewater treatment. In practice, water issues usually have to be addressed together with chemical issues.
Our goal is that a large part of our collections (own production) will be produced by 2019 with better processes that use less water and chemicals.
As mentioned above, the plan is also to gradually transition away from conventional cotton, which in itself will significantly reduce the company’s total water footprint.
We are a member of the Sweden Water Textile Initiative (STWI) and implements its guidelines on sustainable water use in the supply chain. An STWI project was conducted at one of our factories in 2015. Since it involved a first tier factory (a factory producing garments, not processing textiles with water and chemicals) the project focused mainly on energy improvements. The project resulted in 12% improvements of energy consumption and chemical use, and a number of recommendations for further improvements were also the outcome of the project.
We are happy with the first project, and now want to proceed with more actively addressing water footprint too. Our goal is also to actively contribute over time to improving the water footprint of sub-suppliers to our factories, i.e. facilities that use wet processes. For 2016 we are launching a water project in a production unit for dyeing and printing textiles operated by a subcontractor in China.
Read more about the accomplishment of STWI so far.
To meet our long-term water and chemical goals, we are pinpointing effective measures in dyeing and printing that will enable us to reduce our footprint. An important first step is to gradually obtain a more complete understanding of the parties at different levels of our production chain. This alone is a challenge, and a precondition to make impact all along the product life cycle. This is part of our general effort to get transparency in our production chain.