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2 February 2013 | Anna Reynolds
Buyers at retailer H&M will be trained on water use in production processes as part of a new water strategy developed in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
As part of a three-year global partnership WWF and H&M will work with public policy makers, non-governmental organisations, water institutions and other companies to manage river basins in China and Bangladesh in a more sustainable way.
H&M will initially work with 190 suppliers that manufacture the majority of its products to minimise their impact on water and reduce pollution. The company aims to extend the strategy to all of its 750 suppliers and fabric manufacturers over the course of the three years.
Approximately 1,000 H&M buyers, sales and production staff will be directly involved in implementing the strategy, and all of the company’s 94,000 employees will learn about global water challenges.
H&M designers and buyers will receive additional training on the impact of production on water as well as learning about the different ways water is used to create different styles to make more sustainable choices.
Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M, said in a statement: “Water is a key resource for H&M and we are committed to ensure that water is used responsibly throughout our value chain. We do this to minimise risks in our operations, to protect the environment and to secure the availability of water. We are proud of the partnership with WWF which we hope will inspire others to follow.”
According to the WWF’s 2012 Living Planet Report there are currently 2.7 billion people (40 per cent of the world’s population) living in river basins that experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year. About a third of the operations which perform wet productionprocesses for H&M are located in areas which are now or will be by 2025, considered extreme ‘water scarce’.