Companies in Action
Target's freshwater stewardship approach sets commitments across the value chain. Leading companies are taking a close look at water impacts across the value chain, including both environmental and social impacts from design to discharge, and setting quantitative targets focused on a variety of key indicators. Target's water management approach focuses on three core objectives designed to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: improving water quality, optimizing water efficiency and increasing access to clean water. Target goals begin with its own stores, distribution centers and offices, where the company has committed to reducing water consumption by 15% by 2025 from a 2010 baseline year. While the impact at the operational level is important, companies like Target must look beyond their own walls to address water impacts across the value chain. Target has recognized the urgency to address water impacts associated with its raw material procurement and apparel design and manufacturing. To address key water risks in its agricultural supply chain, Target joined Ceres and WWF's AgWater Challenge and is working towards advancing a number of key soil health and sustainable agricultural practices within its supply chain. Additionally, Target has set time-bound commitments specific to its apparel supply chain, including a commitment to improve water efficiency in textile dyeing and finishing factories located in priority watersheds by 15% by 2022. Taking it a step further into the design phase, Target is committed to designing 100% of its owned-brand apparel using water saving design principles.
Mars sets context-based water targets and prioritizes action in regions of high water stress. Water impacts are highly localized. In response, leading companies in the food and beverage industry are developing sophisticated strategies for addressing key risks. A growing number of companies are setting “context-based"" water targets, which are designed to recognize the localized business vulnerabilities and watershed-level impacts on both the environment and people. The chocolate giant Mars has set context-based water targets to ensure that the water used throughout its value chain is within annually renewable levels specific to the watersheds the company operates in and sources from. By 2025, Mars aims to reduce its water use 50% from 2015 levels. Joining a small subset of companies that are setting locally relevant targets, Mars set more ambitious water intensity targets for facilities in regions of high water stress. It will require 20 of its factories within the highest water risk regions to complete water stewardship reviews in accordance with the Alliance for Water Stewardship standard.
Levi Strauss sets context-based water targets that are good for communities and business. Comprehensive water management is a business imperative like never before. Corporate water stewardship demands a context-based approach that takes into account local conditions, community needs and available resources in a particular region. Levi Strauss & Co.’s 2025 water action strategy is guided by a bold vision to use only as much water as replenishes naturally across all operations. To accomplish this, the apparel company has committed to reducing water use in manufacturing in highly stressed areas by 50% by 2025. Resources like the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas enabled the company to map suppliers against water stressed areas and design strategies accordingly. Additionally, Levi Strauss also committed to helping key suppliers (representing 80% of production) become ""Water<Less"" facilities by 2025. Launched in 2011, the Water<Less program looks to identify technical innovations to save water compared to traditional methods and has been open sourced to scale impact among peers.
General Mills invests in water stewardship and prioritizes action in at-risk watersheds globally. Looking to address the direct water impacts associated with agricultural practices, leading companies are establishing local strategies to improve the health of watersheds and surrounding communities. General Mills has committed to champion water stewardship within the companies most material and at-risk-watersheds across its global value chain by 2025. To determine priority locations, General Mills in 2016 developed a water risk assessment across 41 watersheds globally, accounting for 15 key ingredients. The assessment included factors such as water quantity, quality and baseline water stress and leveraged resources, including the World Wildlife Fund Water Risk Filter and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Global Water Tool, among others. Following a four-phase approach, the company is focused on eight priority watersheds across its worldwide operations and reports significant progress compared to the previous year. The company's approach evaluates watersheds by risk level and also by phase of engagement--Phase 1: assessment, Phase 2: analysis and action planning, Phase 3: collaboration and Phase 4: transformation.
Gap Inc. launches innovative dyeing process that can reduce water usage by up to 99%. The footwear and apparel industry is among the most intensive users of water, and companies are exploring innovative technologies to address their critical environmental impacts. In 2019, Gap Inc. announced Dry Indigo®, a foam-dye process that uses 99% less water, 89% fewer chemicals and 65% less energy than traditional denim dyeing methods. The process also facilitates the elimination of water discharge compared to the traditional slasher indigo (or sheet dyeing) process. Through a special collection, the company launched the pilot process through a partnership between Banana Republic and a Spanish denim mill that has been fine tuning the technology for the past decade. This project directly supports the Gap Inc.’s long standing goal to conserve 10 billion liters of water in its manufacturing operations by the end of 2020 and builds on Banana Republic’s pledge to manufacture at least 50% of its products using water saving techniques by 2025.