H&M at World Water Week in Stockholm

Sep 2, 2013 11:15 AM ET
Campaign: H&M and Water

This week one of the world's most influential water conventions, World Water Week, is taking place in Stockholm, home of H&M. The leading minds in water are here to discuss the global water challenge and how to tackle it. H&M will be an active voice in the discussions.

During World Water Week, H&M will talk about the drivers behind our partnerships on water issues, why working with NGOs makes perfect business sense to us at H&M, our lessons learned from nearly 20 years of water engagement and the main challenges going forward.

This year's theme, “Water Cooperation: Building Partnerships”, couldn´t be more current. H&M has set our sight on becoming the fashion industry’s leading water steward. But improving the water situation in a river basin is not something a single company or organization can do alone. Yet, with a collective approach, we can achieve a lot. Leading by example, H&M can promote better practices not just in our own supply chain, but also throughout the whole industry.

That's why we, earlier this year, developed our new water strategy side-by-side with Conservation organisation WWF. According to WWF, it marks an evolution in the corporate approach to water as it takes the whole supply chain into account and goes far beyond the factory lines. H&M do this to protect the environment, minimize risks in our operations and to secure the availability of water.

Right now we are introducing a global sustainability e-learning with water as a key ingredient. All 104,000 H&M employees will learn about why water is important. In addition, H&M designers and buyers will receive further training in the water impacts of raw material production as well as wet processes for different styles, to promote more sustainable choices.

Another exciting example within our water strategy is taking place in Bangladesh. A promising partnership is underway to tackle the country’s water crisis and improve the sustainability in textile wet processing, The Bangladesh Water Partnership for Cleaner Textile. H&M is a core sponsor in the $11M program which links textile buyers, their factories and surrounding communities on a shared sustainability agenda.

Responsible water use is a deal-breaker for H&M – about a third of the factories that make clothes for us using wet processes are already located in extreme water scarce areas, or will be by 2025. If we want to have a successful business in the future, we need to change practices in our value chain today. This is, of course, a reality for many industries. During World Water Week, I hope we can inspire others to take a similar approach, and be part of the solution.

Felix Ockborn
Water specialist, H&M                                                       

To learn more about our efforts within water, click here: www.hm.com/water

For information about World Water Week, click here: www.siwi.org/