Using water risk indicators to set contextual water targets

Posted on 16 November 2021

WWF and H&M Group case study provides lessons for the textile sector
WWF has been partnering with H&M Group on water stewardship since 2011. H&M Group is the second largest apparel company globally, and operates over 5,000 stores in 74 countries.

The textile industry has a high impact on water, cotton growing and wet processing such as dyeing and washing requires a lot of water – producing a single cotton t-shirt entails around 3,000 liters.

Raw materials and processing locations are often based in some of the world’s most water stressed and polluted river basins. This is why WWF and H&M Group partnered; to improve water stewardship across H&M’s value chain as well as to work collectively with others, within and beyond the fashion industry, for more responsible water use.

More recently, H&M has been working with WWF to define the next iteration of its water strategy that will guide their efforts beyond 2022. Part of this work includes H&M Group adopting a contextual approach to their performance targets, to help accelerate their ability to reduce impacts across the business and full value chain.

H&M Group has over 1,100 suppliers within its production value chain, operating in 24 countries. The way each supplier uses water differs significantly, depending on contextual conditions. However, the performance targets that are assigned to suppliers don’t reflect these contextual conditions (i.e., a one-size-fits all approach). H&M Group is committed to taking more meaningful action on water and the starting point is to ensure that performance targets for individual suppliers better reflect the contextual conditions in which they operate.

Therefore, we wanted to create, and scale, an efficient approach to set individual and meaningful performance targets for all suppliers - that are related to their opera- tional and basin contexts.

WWF and H&M Group used the steps within the framework within WWF’s recent guidance “Contextual Water Targets” as a guide to implement this. Read the case study to find out more.
WWF case study on contextual water targets work with H&M using the Water Risk Filter