Producing textiles uses huge quantities of water. It starts with growing cotton and continues through dyeing, washing and printing all the way to textile finishing processes. How we tackle water consumption is a key element of our CR strategy. As well as reducing our overall consumption, we are committed to keeping hazardous chemicals out of the water we use, and filtering wastewater properly.

Transparency & water risks. Risk levels are at their highest where water shortages and fragile eco systems are confronted with high water consumption and insufficient wastewater treatment. We use the Higg FEM (Facility Environmental Module) by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) to increase transparency of suppliers’ water management systems. At the same time we analyse water risks along the whole supply chain. The goal is to introduce more targeted measures in the future. We’ve been working towards protecting water resources for years now. Key instruments are proper chemical management, sustainable fibres with a low water footprint and innovative production processes.

Wastewater quality & zero discharge. Alongside fresh water use, wastewater pollution is the most critical issue when it comes to this valuable resource. Chemical management is a central theme in all our supplier training programmes. From 2019 to 2020, we held several months of training for 28 wet process factories in China, India and Pakistan teaching them how to handle chemicals responsibly.

Selecting raw materials. When choosing raw materials for our products, we can reduce water consumption by opting for sustainable fibres – especially when it comes to cotton. Around 99% of our cotton now comes from sustainable sources. Our involvement in the Cotton made in Africa initiative currently saves the most water. Crops in sub-Saharan Africa are grown using rainfed cultivation methods, saving over 2100 litres of water for every kilo of cotton harvested.

CleanDye technology. Since 2019, we have been part of a joint venture with CleanDye. In a revolutionary approach garments are dyed at a factory in Vietnam using CO₂ instead of water. And there’s more good news – 95% of the CO₂ can be recycled. The dyeing process also eliminates the need for processing chemicals making it an eco-friendly hat-trick.