Our Top 3 Takeaways from World Water Week
by Una Hrnjak-Hadziahmetovic, Sr. Manager, Sustainable Innovation
Did you know that it takes on average at least 1600 gallons of water to create one pair of jeans? As a heavy water user, Gap Inc. is innovating to reduce our overall use of water throughout the process - from design to manufacturing – so that we can protect the environment for the wellbeing of families for generations to come.
Last month, Gap Inc.’s Sustainability team represented the company in Sweden for the annual Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) World Water Week.
Here are 3 of our top highlights:
1. Women are Agents of Change
Around the world, women are raising their voices and using their talents to activate change to protect the environment we live in. While in Stockholm, our team was honored to meet several activists who are raising awareness, including CEO of Thirst, Mina Guli. She was featured in Fortune Magazine's 2016 list of the 50 greatest leaders in the world for using her platform as a runner to draw attention to the water crisis. She has run dozens of marathons herself while activating millions more to run for water scarcity as part of the campaign #RunningDry and she isn’t giving up!
It’s estimated that, globally, women and girls spend on average 200 million hours a day collecting water – losing time they could be spending at school or at work. Through Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E program, we work with women, in the countries we source from and where the water crisis is severe, to provide trainings on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and to advance their communication skills, negotiation power, and problem-solving skills so they can change this reality.
2. We’re Better Together
We’re proud of our partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Our “Women + Water Alliance” earned recognition at World Water Week as an example of the exponential power of collaboration: bringing the strengths of the private sector, the convening power of USAID, and the local and technical expertise of our implementing partners including CARE, Water.org, WaterAid and the Institute for Sustainable Communities to maximize impact. Gap Inc. is honored to inspire other industry leaders to form partnerships and coalitions to preserve access to water, and to keep women at the center of solutions for addressing WASH needs.
Gap Inc. Senior Manager Lisa Hook shared at World Water Week, “By building the capacity of women’s skills through Gap Inc.'s P.A.C.E. program, women will be better equipped to voice their water, sanitation and hygiene needs. By starting with women, we hope to realize a powerful ripple effect where they will invest not only in themselves but their families and communities.”
Hear from the amazing women we’re working with to become advocates of change in their communities and address their water needs here.
Water is a precious resource that we all need in order to thrive. Leading companies are finding ways to champion water conservation that inspires individual action too. At World Water Week, IKEA announced innovative solutions for peoples’ homes to help them save water – from using mist taps (which reduces water by 90%), to sensors to provide you with information on how much water your home used each day for showering and other water-intensive activities, to new eco-wash laundry machines that are designed to better capture microfibers.
Simple measures such as turning off the water when brushing our teeth (estimated to save 50 billion gallons of water per year) are key to helping us change our world. Tell us what you can do to save water by using #LoveYourWater!
At Gap Inc., we believe that water is a human right and we’re working proactively to address some of these challenges across our supply chain. Read our most recent Global Sustainability Report to learn more.