H&M and WWF to work on water challenges in Turkey

WWF and H&M group have already worked together in China and Bangladesh

Clothing group H&M and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have announced a new initiative to help Turkey tackle its water challenges, particularly pollution.

The project will focus on improving water management methods and policies in the Büyük Menderes River basin, which is home to large-scale agriculture and industry, including textile operations.

Like many other river basins, Büyük Menderes suffers from declining water quality and could face increased water stress in future due to climate change and development.

“Turkey’s textile industry is booming but it faces serious risks from pollution, poor water management and weak regulations: collective action is needed now to mitigate these risks,” said Daniel Robertsson, Head of Corporate Engagement at WWF Sweden and responsible for the H&M WWF partnership. “WWF and H&M group have already helped to strengthen water management in China and Bangladesh and we believe our partnership will contribute to similar improvements in Turkey.”

As part of the initiative, policy makers and other companies in Turkey will collaborate to promote clean production technologies in the textile sector as well as demonstrate the value of water stewardship. H&M will influence its suppliers to invest in clean production and better water management.

“Being one of Turkey’s largest textile buyers, H&M group has a strong incentive to influence the development of more sustainable water use in the country’s textile industry,” said Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability at H&M group. “In addition to the work we do on a regular basis to improve water management practices in all of our facilities, we will engage our suppliers in cleaner production programmes in the basin and try to inspire others by sharing best practices.”

WWF and H&M group first began working together in 2011, focusing on water stewardship. Since then the partnership has helped transform H&M group’s internal water management as well as engaging suppliers, policy makers, NGOs, communities and other companies to collectively advocate for more sustainable water use in specific river basins in Asia.