Major Fashion Brand to Reduce Apparel Industry’s Water Use and Drive Water-Saving Innovation

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Major Fashion Brand to Reduce Apparel Industry’s Water Use and Drive Water-Saving Innovation

Global apparel retailer Gap Inc. announced a new partnership with its longtime sourcing and franchise partner in India, Arvind Limited, to drive industry-leading solutions that address global water scarcity.

The apparel industry is one of the most intensive users of water in the world and, in India, 54 percent of the population faces high to extremely high water risk. The two companies will open a new innovation center to promote the adoption of proven techniques and technology that reduce water use by the textile manufacturing industry.

Representative image by Pexels, labeled for reuse

Further, Arvind and Gap Inc. are also investing in a new water treatment facility that will eliminate the use of fresh water at Arvind’s denim mill in Ahmedabad, India. The facility will save three billion liters of fresh water by the end of 2020 and preserve the local community’s vital freshwater resources.

As water becomes increasingly scarce due to climate change and growing human needs, the apparel industry is facing pressure to reduce its demand for fresh water. When it opens in 2020, the new center will be an innovation hub for apparel companies, manufacturing suppliers and vendors, sustainability experts, academics, and other environmental stakeholders to advance and scale water stewardship across the apparel sector.

The 18,000-square foot space will feature: installations that showcase water management best practices and recycling technologies; a library; lab space to develop water management solutions as well as classroom training and conference space. Once completed, the center will generate scalable solutions that can be replicated at other mills and laundries.

Today, Arvind’s denim mill in Ahmedabad – the first mill in India to manufacture denim – consumes eight million liters of fresh water per day. Once constructed, t he new water treatment facility will replace 100 percent of its freshwater use with reclaimed water. Specifically, the new facility will use Membrane Bio Reactor (MBR) technology to treat domestic wastewater drawn from the surrounding community without the use of chemicals in the treatment process, resulting in a cleaner, more sustainable process. The facility is currently under construction and is expected to be commissioned by September. Beyond eliminating the use of fresh water at the denim mill, the facility will also reduce business risk for Arvind, Gap Inc. and the other brands that source from the mill due to local water scarcity challenges.

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