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Gap targets water use as it revises cotton strategy

Clothing group Gap and its sourcing partner in India are opening an innovation centre to promote technology that reduces water use in the textile manufacturing industry. 

Arvind and Gap are also investing in a water treatment facility that will eliminate the use of fresh water at Arvind’s denim mill in Ahmedabad, instead using water reclaimed from local communities.

The group last week committed to sourcing all its cotton from sustainable sources by 2025.

Cotton is one of the most water-intensive crops and the group estimates a pair of jeans uses an average of 1,600 gallons of water throughout its lifecycle, 64% of which is used to grow cotton.

Arvind’s denim mill in Ahmedabad consumes eight million litres of fresh water per day. The new treatment facility will use Membrane Bio Reactor technology to clean the water using fewer chemicals than standard practices, said Gap, with the aim of saving three billion litres of fresh water by the end of 2020.

Keith White, Gap’s executive vice-president of global sustainability, said: “Sourcing cotton in a way that reduces water use and damage to the climate is about creating a healthy environment for our children and future generations.”

Sportswear brand Athleta, Gap's fastest growing company, earned B Corp Certification last year in recognition of its commitment to protecting the planet.

Photo: The 18,000-square foot space will feature installations that showcase water management best practices and recycling technologies, a library, lab space to develop water management solutions and classroom training and conference spaces.
Credit: SPA Design