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🗣️ "Closing the Water GAP"

The Stream

Photo by Parker Burchfield / Unsplash

Hosts: Will Sarni & Tom Freyberg
Guest: Lisa Hook | Senior Manager for Environmental & Product Sustainability | Gap Inc.
Category: 🗣️ Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[13:14] “For context around why apparel and water. The industry as a whole depends on water to make clothes. […] [We are] heavily reliant [on water] from the growing of cotton to manufacturing and dyeing textiles, and even in ultimately how customers launder and care for their products. So there's a large water footprint. In the production alone, we estimate it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce one pair of jeans. […] And often the places where product is made and sourced from face high water stress […] and that's exacerbated by climate change. So it is a very material issue [for] the apparel sector.”

[14:23] “What we're doing about that are a few things […], including around innovating how textiles are manufactured to start to look at how do we reduce the water use in that process and even look at decoupling that dependence on water from the production process. So we are partnering with one of our key fabric producers […] to develop an innovation center on water stewardship, specifically that we want to catalyze new technologies and innovation. Starting in India, but really open to the whole manufacturing sector. And this will be open source, so that we can really spread the ideas and opportunities.”

[15:25] “The other aspect is recognizing the role of partnerships. Water really connects us all and we can't solve these problems alone. We need to do it together. One big way we're doing that is through our public private partnership with the US Agency for International Development. It's a $32 million 6-year program that aims to empower 2 million people with drinking water access and sanitation by 2023. And we're doing this in India in cotton growing and textile manufacturing communities, through a number of our NGO partners, [like] […] WaterAid, […]. And really the opportunity with this program […] is that we are building resilience for water, with these communities, with women as the forefront for that catalyzing change agent, which in turn helps strengthen our business and our value chain and in the face of climate change, and how and where we're sourcing cotton and manufacturing textiles.”

[19:34] “We're actually constructing an entire center for interested stakeholders and the industry to learn, foster those innovations and then take them back to their manufacturing locations. And […] the focus on innovation is really bringing out that excitement around solutions orientation for how [we can] solve this global water challenge. Not only understanding that it's a risk, it's really challenging, there's a lot of negative impacts, but then what do we do about it. And that there are options, there are solutions that we can creatively innovate to help us together solve this problem.”

[22:40] “We're working on engaging our employees first and foremost, and educating them about the sustainability challenges and solutions. And it raises awareness, it generates an appreciation for the water that we do have and how we each value water in different ways, whether it's having your water bottle filled with clean, fresh water, to hydrate, your exercise, or to go swimming, or fishing and really kind of brings that appreciation to life. So we're making strides, and there's a lot more that we can do. And I hope to see a lot more of that in the future.”

Rating: 💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 33 min | 🗓️ 09/14/2021
✅ Time saved: 31 min

Additional Links:
Gap Inc. Water Stewardship