By Stockholm International Water Institute
Published May 28, 2015
An initiative that brings together leather and textile companies in collaboration to reduce water, energy and chemical use in their supply chains is being introduced in Africa and Asia. Touted as one of Sweden’s largest public-private partnerships, Sweden Textile Water Initiative is expanding to new countries in Africa and Asia after what is described as a successful pilot project in India.
The initiative has enabled 28 Swedish textile and leather companies to collaborate with Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in catalysing a shift towards sustainable production globally. The initiative has educated suppliers and sub-contractors to help minimise the use of water, energy and chemicals throughout the whole supply chain.
More than 40 factories participated in the pilot project, which contributed to saving 284 million litres of water and 402 tonnes of chemicals annually. “It is all about spreading knowledge and changing attitudes,” says Rami Abdelrahman, Programme Manager at SIWI. “Within just two years, we have educated more than 14,000 factory managers and employees. This has paved the way for long-term gains for both the environment, the companies, the suppliers and the local population.”
Inspired by the success of the pilot, the initiative will now expand to include new factories in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China, India and Turkey. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) will match the companies’ and factories’ investments in better water management.