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Industry Talk

New tool to help reduce water consumption

DNV GL and UNIDO have developed a self-assessment tool to assist textile companies in evaluating the water footprint in manufacturing processes.

29th August 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Høvik

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

DNV GL and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have launched a new tool to help the textiles industry manage water consumption in a more sustainable manner.

Water scarcity affects more than 40% of the global population, a number which is projected to rise. While about 2.5% of the world’s water is freshwater, only 0.5% of that amount is made available to satisfy society’s needs.

Water is also an important resource in manufacturing processes, including in the textiles sector. Reducing water consumption by establishing sustainable production processes can therefore be an advantage for companies, as well as the communities they operate in. This is widely reflected in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which aim, among other things, to ensure sustainable production by companies and water access for all by 2030.

Self-assessment tool

DNV GL and UNIDO have jointly developed a self-assessment tool to assist textile companies in evaluating the water footprint in manufacturing processes. This will help them make more informed decisions about how to manage water consumption in their supply chains.

“The textiles processing industry is heavily dependent on water in virtually all steps of the production process, from desizing to bleaching and dyeing. It has one of the most extensive water footprints of all sectors,” said Smail Alhilali, Industrial Development Officer and Manager of the Global Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production (RECP) programme at UNIDO.

Textile dyeing process. © Renè van Berkel, UNIDO

“That's why we have developed this tool, which is a measure for textile companies to obtain a better understanding of their resource efficiency and insight into where they can reduce consumption.”

Combating water scarcity

“DNV GL and UNIDO have a common interest in combating water scarcity and improving industry awareness of water-related risks and opportunities. This is an area where companies have a significant potential for improvement and we are pleased to use our combined expertise to help industries assess and reduce their water footprint,” said Antonio Astone, Global Sustainability Manager at DNV GL – Business Assurance.

The Global Network for Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECPnet), supporting organisations in over 60 developing countries, will facilitate the use of the tool, which primarily targets small and medium-sized companies. It will guide companies on the use of the tool and interpretation of results.

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