Gap Inc. Announces Water-Saving Initiative With Textile Supplier

Moving closer to the sustainable goals it set in 2018, Gap Inc. announced a new water-saving initiative with its sourcing partner Arvind Limited.

Included in the San Francisco apparel retailer’s plan was the conservation of more than 2.5 billion gallons of water by the end of 2020.

To facilitate this transition, Gap Inc. and the Ahmedabad, India–headquartered textile manufacturer will launch an 18,000-square-foot innovation center. By educating apparel and sustainability leaders using new techniques and technology, the partners will use the new site to promote responsible textile manufacturing for a cleaner global clothing-manufacturing industry that relies on the reduction of water use.

“The world is facing a water crisis, and Gap Inc. is committed to finding meaningful, scalable ways to reduce our water use. Traditionally, manufacturing apparel has been a water-intensive, water-wasting process,” Art Peck, Gap Inc.’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “This partnership with Arvind Limited is an important step toward changing that, and we look forward to collaborating across the industry to accelerate the transformation to more efficient and sustainable water-use practices.”

In addition, the partners will invest in Arvind’s denim mill to develop a new water-treatment facility that will eliminate the use of fresh water in its manufacturing. As the first denim mill in India, Arvind currently utilizes more than 2 million gallons of fresh water each day.

Within the new facility, it will transition to using 100 percent reclaimed water, which will be sourced from the community’s wastewater and treated through membrane bio reactor (MBR) technology, a technique that uses no chemicals. By moving away from current manufacturing practices, nearly 1 billion gallons of fresh water will be saved by the end of 2020.

“Arvind is committed to eliminating the use of fresh water from its textile production operations. We have made significant investments in water reduction and recycling activities over the past two decades,” Arvind Limited’s executive director, Punit Lalbhai, said in a press statement. “Gap Inc. is our key strategic customer, and this partnership is valuable for us to achieve our water goals collectively. The partnership will also help in expanding the scope of water savings to the broader industry.”

The partnership news comes on the heels of Gap Inc.’s recent announcement that the company by 2025 will source 100 percent of its cotton from more-sustainable sources.

This week, the Better Cotton Initiative recognized its 2018 Better Cotton leaders, which included Gap Inc. in the categories of Top 15 Retailer and Brand Members by Sourcing Volumes, Fastest Movers by Increased Sourcing Volumes, All Retailer and Brand Members Sourcing Cotton as Better Cotton, and Retailer and Brand Members with Public 100 Percent Sustainable Cotton Targets.