The last few years have witnessed the increasing trend of corporates worldwide jumping onto the “green” wagon of sustainability. But many initiatives do not seem to stand up to the educated scrutiny of the discerning consumer. The term “Green Washing” has sadly entered our collective vocabulary to describe the nefarious activates of some corporates who try to pass off window dressing as the real deal, projects carried out to placate stakeholders without actually creating any significant ecological or environmental impact.
With more buzz being created worldwide around sustainability, focus is now being shifted to the looming worldwide water crisis. But the danger of the emergence of a new term “Blue Washing” continues to be present on the horizon. This brings about the question , should corporates focus on water and how can they ensure that the desired impacts are indeed achieved.
The water crisis is a reality
The world has a population of approximately 7 billion, whose lives depend on an extremely limited freshwater resource. Only 0.007% of earth’s water supply is consumable or accessible to humans. Humans and nature cannot function without this precious yet depleting resource.
As a result of the staggering population growth throughout the world and the increase in the demands of human needs, it is predicted that most of the world will run out of its freshwater resource in the near future.
Companies making a difference
Many Corporations around the world have already begun this fight for life. The Levi’s ® Brand recently produced its first water less pair of jeans. According to Levis, an average pair of jeans uses 42 liters of water throughout its production process. However, the water less pair of jeanshas reduced its water consumption by 10 litres. Some of the Levi’s ® products have reduced its water consumption by 96%.
Marks and Spencer® is currently working on calculating the water footprint of its clothing lines. In addition, they have calculated the water footprint of 5 key crops such as strawberries, tomato, lettuce, potato and roses. They have also increased their water efficiency by 18% in their stores, offices and warehouses as a result of using percussion taps, water less urinals and rain water harvesting.
H & M® produced a Water Conscious Denim. As a result of this product line, the company saves 450 million litres of water per year.
Coca Cola® is also a water conscious company. After calculating the company’s water footprint in 2004 the Coca Cola’s® water efficiency has risen by 21.4% in 2010. The company plans on improving their water efficiency by a further 25% by the year 2020.
Leading Sri Lankan apparel factory Melbourne Textile Washing Plant (Pvt) Limited joined the ranks of industry players focusing on water. The leading garment washing plant in country’s industry, its focus has always been in reducing and managing the intensity of its water usage. The factory chose to work with The Carbon Consulting Company to calculate it’s corporate water footprint in line with the guidelines promulgated by the Water Footprint Network, making it the first apparel washing plant in the industry to do so. The company assessed its blue, green and grey water footprints and is presently implementing a water management system to further reduce its current consumption. Using independently verified studies, to bolster its own efforts ensures that the plant’s efforts are creating actual impact on the environment.