H&M and WWF: Becoming a Water Steward – Year One
January 30, 2014 /3BL Media/ - H&M understands that our long-term success depends on sustainable water usage throughout our value chain, but also that water is a shared resource and a shared risk. So, one year ago H&M and WWF signed a ground breaking water partnership. Through a holistic water stewardship strategy we, side by side, strive towards new standards for the fashion industry and beyond.
“We quickly realised that both organisations share common views and want to achieve actual results. Since the launch, we have made water awareness a part of H&M’s global sustainability training for all 104,000 employees. Together we have mapped water risks for H&M’s 500 supplier factories working with wet processes and updated our routines to monitor waste water treatment. Through the partnership H&M is also supporting a WWF Conservation Project in the Yangtze River basin”, says Helena Helmersson, Head of Sustainability at H&M.
The WWF Conservation Project is working to save the Yangtze finless porpoise. The species is under severe stress and acts as an indicator for demonstrating the state of the Yangtze River’s ecosystem. Specific activities to increase the number of porpoises include improvement of sustainable fisheries and decreasing pollution from agriculture by educating cotton farmers.
"Degraded and depleted water resources, and inadequate supply and sanitation, impose impacts across society. WWF believes that actions to address these shared risks to water security require collaborative action," said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International. "In working together with H&M, we want to inspire a shift of the whole fashion industry towards responsible water stewardship. The aims of this partnership are high, and so are the stakes”.
What truly takes the H&M and WWF partnership beyond the beaten track is our joint work to engage stakeholders and influence governance in China and Bangladesh. Here we can take water stewardship within the fashion industry to the next level. We now have our engagement plans for China in place and implementation will start early 2014.
Together we will engage a number of local stakeholders in China, including governmental institutions, NGOs, local communities and industry associations. Common to all stakeholders is their influence and interest in water policy on different levels; regional, provincial and national. If successful, both H&M and WWF will gain valuable experience and knowhow that can be used elsewhere to ensure better water management.
With a new year ahead of us, we have a lot of exciting activities in the pipeline and we are looking forward seeing even more specific results. We are proud of the partnership with WWF, which we hope will inspire others to follow.
Read more about our water strategy - hm.com/water