Stockholm’s 23rd World Water Week
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Global leaders gathered in Stockholm for the 23rd World Water Week last week, calling for strengthened cooperation over water. The leading minds in water discussed the global water challenges and how to tackle them. While the world’s populations and economies are growing fast, unfortunately, the amount of available water remains the same. Therefore the collaboration over our most essential and precious resource is more urgent than ever. This year’s World Water Week theme, "Water Cooperation: Building Partnerships,", couldn’t be more timely. Unprejudiced cooperation and solid partnerships will be a prerequisite for successfully sharing and managing the water we have.
We need to strengthen cooperation, build more and stronger bridges between the public and private sectors; we need to learn how to use less water better; and most importantly, we need to make sure that every person on earth gets access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Diseases caused by unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene kill more than 5,000 people daily.
H&M, a leading fashion brand, attended this influential water convention and talked about the drivers behind its partnerships on water issues, and why working with NGOs makes perfect business sense. H&M wants to be the fashion industry's leading water steward, yet recognises it is a job that it cannot do alone—the issue needs a collective approach. Earlier this year, H&M developed a water strategy with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a conservation charity. According to WWF, it marks an evolution in the corporate approach to water as it takes the whole supply chain into account, going far beyond the factory lines, and reinforces H&M’s partnership to tackle Bangladesh’s water crisis.
In Bangladesh, H&M is improving sustainability in textile wet processing. The company is a core sponsor in the $11M program which links textile buyers, their factories and surrounding communities on a shared sustainability agenda. Responsible water use is a deal-breaker for H&M—about a third of the factories that make clothes use wet processes that are located in current extreme water scarcity areas or those that will be by 2025. H&M knows to have a successful business in the future it needs to change its practices, a reality for many industries.
Over 100 seminars, workshops and events, with over 2,500 participants took place during the week. One such workshop was ‘Unlocking Consumer Demand for Water: a Collaborative Project,’ hosted by Safe Water Network (SWN). It showcased an initiative in rural India that brought together private-sector companies, community leaders and local field-partners where the team developed and tested campaigns and messaging to increase the adoption of safe water. The project, funded by the Merck Foundation, is noteworthy for its use of 'tablet' technology to communicate the importance of the use of safe water for drinking, cooking and bathing for improved health. SWN’s work highlights the need for continued new thinking and innovations to move towards a future where water is managed equally and sustainably.
Photo Credit: Manfred Matz