C&A’s water savings equal use of over 800,000 households
Dusseldorf, Germany – 30 November 2017. Global fashion retailer C&A has saved about 133.8 billion litres water through sourcing more sustainable raw materials.1 This equals the annual freshwater consumption of more than 800,000 households as reported by the Textile Exchange Fibre Market Report2.
The apparel industry uses a lot of water, from crop irrigation to wet processes in production, through to customer use. According to the World Wide Fund (WWF), it can take up to 2,700 litres of water to produce a single T-shirt considering all stages of production.
“Water consumption and wastewater quality are key areas that we are focusing on to reduce the impacts from farm to retail. Our current water savings are driven by a combination of how we source raw materials with a strong focus on sourcing more sustainable cotton in the form of certified organic and Better Cotton.” said Jeffrey Hogue, C&A’s Global Chief Sustainability Officer.
Over the past two years, C&A has focused on the accurate modelling of its water footprint by analysing hundreds of thousands of orders across the globe. C&A has collaborated with the scientists at Aligned Incentives to employ the latest modelling approaches and methodologies and to identify the key areas where water impacts are significant.
“In a world where most companies still only focus on the water footprint of their internal operations, C&A is now able to track and manage how sourcing and best practice decisions affect local water use around the globe. This enables C&A to not only achieve large reductions in water use but to also do so where it matters most, i.e. in the most water stressed areas” said Yann Risz, Managing Director of Aligned Incentives.
Along with sourcing more sustainable raw materials, C&A also works with its suppliers’ factories to optimise production processes, including the quality and quantity of wastewater at the factory level. In addition, C&A has recently launched the first GOLD level Cradle to Cradle Certified™ T-shirt that was produced in factories that recycle 100% of their water.
“Looking at the full lifecycle of a product, we also calculated that consumers directly influence about 10% of a product’s water footprint through the laundering of their clothes. Consumers also have an opportunity to save water by simply washing their clothes less often, which also has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, consumers can even have a more significant impact on the water footprint of their clothes by choosing garments made of more sustainable cotton, including organic and Better Cotton, which is why we provide a large share of our cotton from more sustainable sources,” advises Hogue.
1'Preferred Fibres and Materials Benchmark Report 2017‘, Textile Exchange
2A four-people household in Western Europe uses in average about 165m3 water annually. https://www.ccwater.org.uk/households/using-water-wisely/averagewateruse/ or https://www.nibud.nl/consumenten/energie-en-water/
With nearly 2,000 stores in 21 countries worldwide and around 60,000 employees, C&A is a leading fashion retail business. C&A welcomes millions of visitors each day and provides them with good quality fashion at affordable prices for their entire family. C&A is an enterprise of COFRA Holding AG with a presence in Europe, Brazil, Mexico and China. For more information, see c-a.com/corporate.
C&A’s 2017 Global Sustainability Report is available here.
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