Our continual quest for innovation enables us to be better and more efficient while also lessening our impact on the environment. This includes the sustainable and responsible use of water and the protection of marine and freshwater habitats.
Global Water Management Strategy
How we do this is outlined in our Global Water Management Strategy, following the guidelines of the CEO Water Mandate, part of the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.
Global Water Management StrategyPDF, 1833Kb
Our core commitments are to:
reduce water use in the making of our products
reduce water consumption and improve water efficiency in our stores, offices and facilities
improve water management in our supply chain for cleaner, more efficient usage
achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in the making of our products by 2020
raise awareness among consumers about how we use water to make our products
monitor and be transparent about our progress
continue working with partners, suppliers, customers, retailers and other stakeholders to achieve fully sustainable water management. An example of this approach is our participation, together with other eight textile brands, in the Bangladesh Water PaCT project, an international initiative that seeks environmental and social improvements in the wet processing factories of that country.
Our commitment to zero discharge of hazardous chemicals
We want to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020 in the manufacture of our products. This commitment goes far beyond existing international legislation, and demands close collaboration with our suppliers, other international retail brands (through the ZDHC initiative), the chemical industry, scientists, researchers, academics, public administrations and non-profit organisations.
Change only comes through continuous improvement of our supply chain. Suppliers and their factories must comply with our minimum requirements on the management of chemicals to enter into a business relationship with us. We ensure ongoing compliance through audits, corrective action plans and capacity building.
Then we aim to support our suppliers in adopting more sustainable practices in wet processes, which consume high quantities of water, by helping them apply the best techniques available. This could involve the choice of raw materials and chemical products, improvements in technology, waste and energy management, and the upgrading of their waste-water purification systems.
An international working group made up of university researchers, leading laboratories, industry specialists and scientists from non-governmental organisations helps us develop these techniques and analyses our suppliers’ waste water. We publish a list of our wet-processing suppliers as well as their water waste results to demonstrate our commitment to transparency and to encourage better practice in the industry at large.
We verify our progress towards zero discharge against our latest standard for waste-water quality, which we continually review with our partners.
In its 2016 Detox Catwalk awards, Greenpeace awarded us the highest ‘Avant-Garde’ rating, confirming that we had fully delivered on all its testing criteria. The environmental organisation said our approach to transparency was ‘exemplary’, that our action plan was ‘progressing transparently, and that we had met our timeline commitments to eliminate PFC from production processes. We remain fully committed to achieving all the aims of ZDHC by 2020.