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GAP Inc. and Arvind ltd unveil new treatment facility to address water waste in apparel manufacturing

Project will save 2.5 billion liters of water annually at Arvind’s denim manufacturing facility in India

Recently global apparel retailer Gap Inc. and global textile manufacturer Arvind Limited unveiled a new water treatment facility that will eliminate the use of freshwater at Arvind’s denim manufacturing facility in Ahmedabad, said a recent press release.

GAP-Arvind unveil new treatment facility
Figure: Arvind’s denim manufacturing facility in Ahmedabad.

Marking a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts of both companies to reduce the amount of water used in the apparel production pipeline. The new facility will save eight million liters of freshwater per day, or 2.5 billion liters of freshwater on an annual basis, preserving the local community’s vital freshwater resources.

The apparel industry is one of the most intensive users of water in the world and, in India, 54 percent of the population faces high to extremely-high water risk.

Arvind’s denim manufacturing facility in Ahmedabad – the first mill in India to manufacture denim – will now operate entirely with reclaimed water using Membrane Bio-Reactor (MBR) technology, which will treat domestic wastewater drawn from the surrounding community without chemicals in the process.

A newly constructed pipeline will draw wastewater from the local municipal line. In the face of local water scarcity challenges, the facility will also reduce business risk for Arvind, Gap Inc. and the other brands that source from the facility due to the new reliable source of wastewater.

“We’re proud to reach this milestone in our ongoing efforts to end water-wasting processes and reduce our environmental impact. This project is an important example of innovative, sustainable solutions we can unlock through partnership across the apparel industry,” said Christophe Roussel, EVP of Global Sourcing at Gap Inc.

“Arvind Limited is a strong and valued partner to Gap Inc. and a global leader in responsible, innovative textile manufacturing. We are excited to continue to expand our relationship through this critical effort,” Roussel added.

Talking about collaboration Punit Lalbhai, Executive Director, Arvind Limited said, “This collaboration with GAP Inc. will not only help us achieve our water goals collectively but will also help us eliminate the usage of water in our textile production process. In the last two decades and recently with the help of Arvind Envisol we have made significant efforts towards water reduction and recycling activities. The partnership will also help in expanding the scope of water savings across various industry sectors through an innovation center.”

Gap Inc. will have exclusive rights to the water savings through the project, including the annual savings from the project moving forward. By the end of 2020, the project will save 3 billion liters of freshwater in total, which will be applied to the company’s goal of reducing 10 billion liters of water in the supply chain by 2020.

Through product design innovation and partnership with its vendors, the company has saved more than 5.7 billion liters of water to date.

Arvind Limited aims to eliminate the use of freshwater from 100 percent of its textile production by the end of 2020. Currently, more than 90 percent of the company’s water use is from recycled sources. Arvind also has the largest sustainable cotton farm operation in India for a textile mill.

While this project marks a first-of-a-kind partnership between the two companies, Gap Inc. and Arvind have had a business relationship for over 20 years.

Through a shared vision, both companies also plan to open a new innovation center in 2020 focused on sustainable manufacturing processes to drive adoption by the textile manufacturing industry of proven techniques that reduce water use and address global water scarcity.

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