Location: Vietnam and Cambodia
Issue: Need for apparel industry to understand water stress and learn about best practices in water stewardship.
Organizations involved: CEO Water Mandate, UNEP, Nike, Levi Strauss, H&M, Nautica
In 2011, the apparel companies in the CEO Water Mandate (Mandate) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) convened national-level capacity building workshops in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The workshops engaged Nike’s, Levi Strauss’s, H&M’s, and Nautica’s garment wash and finishing suppliers, local NGOs, and representatives from government agencies to better understand the nature of water challenges in the region, discuss the need for improved industrial water management, and share information on best practices that have proved beneficial for apparel manufacturers in Vietnam and Cambodia. The Mandate and UNEP compiled low-cost good water management practices specific to apparel wash and finishing facilities, including some pertaining to internal governance, measuring and monitoring, recycling and reuse, single-process and multiple-process optimization, and wastewater treatment. The workshops were effective in building awareness of the importance of water sustainability, highlighted cost-saving opportunities from easily implemented water-use efficiency measures, and facilitated improved dialogue between brands and their suppliers, potentially paving the way for further sharing of knowledge and best practices.