Apparel, Fashion & Retail | News & Insights

Arvind Ltd and Gap Inc. Launch World’s First Open-Source Innovation Centre for Water Sustainability in Apparel

Published: January 15, 2024
Author: TEXTILE VALUE CHAIN

Ahmedabad: January 13, 2024, Arvind Ltd & Gap Inc., two industry leaders committed to sustainability and innovation, proudly announce an expansion of their ground-breaking partnership aimed at transforming water management practices within the apparel manufacturing sector. The cornerstone of this alliance is the new Global Water Innovation Centre for Action (GWICA), which will confront the pressing water challenges faced by the global textile and apparel industry.

Situated at Arvind’s Santej unit, the Centre will be an innovation hub for apparel companies, manufacturing suppliers and vendors, sustainability experts, academics, and other environmental stakeholders to advance and scale water stewardship across the apparel sector. This state-of-the-art, 18,000 sq. ft. (1670 m2) Centre comprised of futuristic hexagonal structures was constructed using sustainable materials.

Key Components of the Partnership Include:

Sewage Water Treatment Plant: A cutting-edge facility unveiled in 2019 at Arvind’s Naroda denim processing unit in Ahmedabad which has helped eliminate the reliance on fresh water in processing, championing sustainable manufacturing practices through its innovative Membrane Bio Reactor (MBR) technology. In the face of local water scarcity challenges, the facility reduces business risk by decreasing its dependency on freshwater and now the entire manufacturing process is done using reclaimed water at this facility.

Global Water Innovation Centre for Action (GWICA): A hub dedicated to enhancing the capacities of textile manufacturers and industry stakeholders in water resource management. GWICA will invite collaboration, showcase innovations, and house a repository of best practices and technological advancements. The Centre aims to provide the following services/solutions:

  • Repository of Knowledge: GWICA is an open-source repository, both physical and digital, housing a wealth of knowledge products focused on water management in apparel manufacturing. It will develop new resources as technologies evolve and collaborate with external water and apparel experts to curate materials, ensuring a continuous flow of expertise and insights. 
  • Training Initiatives: Education is a cornerstone of GWICA’s mission. It will offer comprehensive training programs, catering to operator-level staff in textile factories. Our curated best practices, including three annually developed water management training modules available in-person and online, empower industry professionals with the tools needed for sustainable water practices. 
  • R&D Lab and Incubation: The heart of innovation at GWICA lies in our state-of-the-art Research and Development lab. This facility serves as a launching pad for piloting and incubating six innovative water solutions. By supporting and nurturing emerging technologies, it aims to revolutionize water management practices in the apparel sector. 
  • Showcasing Innovations: GWICA offers immersive tours of Arvind’s cutting-edge installations, providing first hand experiences of hi-tech solutions. Additionally, it will create platforms for innovators and start-ups to showcase water-saving advancements. Through these initiatives, it will actively promote and celebrate the strides being made in sustainable water practices. 
  • Collaborative Spaces: The Centre will be a dynamic meeting ground for suppliers, brands, industry associations, and other stakeholders. Whether to showcase new developments, hold private meetings, or host large-scale training seminars and conferences, GWICA provides a collaborative space to drive collective action towards water sustainability. 

Speaking about these initiatives and the partnership, Mr. Punit Lalbhai, Vice Chairman and Executive Director, Arvind Ltd said, “As catalysts for transformative change, our partnership is characterized by holistic actions that resonate throughout the industry ecosystem. From the launch of the pioneering GWICA Centre to the success of our Sewage Water Treatment Plant, we are committed to a transformative path in the apparel manufacturing industry. This collaboration reflects our dedication to holistic sustainability, fostering innovation, and driving positive change at every level of our operations”

Gap Inc. President & CEO Richard Dickson added, “Our founders understood the transformative power of a purpose-driven brand, and 55 years later we are a global company with the scale to make a real difference in the world. By combining our expertise and resources, Arvind and Gap Inc. are building a more water-resilient future for the apparel industry and the communities where we operate.” 

This partnership underscores a collective commitment to sustainability, collaboration, and driving actionable change within the apparel manufacturing industry. Arvind’s sustainability strategy, Fundamentally Right, revolves around an input management approach with the goal to make all key inputs 100 percent sustainable. Water is one key input and over the years, we have achieved key milestones like removing our dependence on freshwater and using 100% recycled water for Textile production. Our major manufacturing facilities are now equipped with ZLD. Adoption of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) systems has led to a 93% reduction in our wastewater discharge.

Gap Inc. is a longstanding partner for Arvind with ambitious water goals of its own. By 2030, the company aims to become water neutral in its manufacturing and owned and operated facilities and empower 5 million people touched by the apparel industry to access to clean water and sanitation.

Water-saving innovations incubated at GWICA and scaled up across the industry will be essential to reducing the use of fresh water in manufacturing apparel. Water stewardship activities that replenish water to nature and improve access to clean water and sanitation for communities will be showcased at GWICA as well, to encourage collective action to improve water resilience for ecosystems and communities touched by the apparel industry around the world.

About Arvind Limited

Arvind is a textile to retail conglomerate with focus on textiles, apparels, advanced materials, environmental solutions, telecom and Omni-channel commerce. Arvind Limited is an integrated solutions provider in textiles with strong fibre to fashion capabilities for a global customer base. It is also a design powerhouse implementing innovative concepts and generating intellectual property. It ranks amongst the top suppliers of fabric worldwide. The company strives every day to create opportunities beyond conventional boundaries and believes that the possibilities are endless. For more information, please visit https://www.arvind.com/ 

About Gap Inc. 

Gap Inc., a collection of purpose-led lifestyle brands, is the largest American specialty apparel company offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, and children under the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and Athleta brands. The company uses omni-channel capabilities to bridge the digital world and physical stores to further enhance its shopping experience. Gap Inc. is guided by its purpose, Inclusive, by Design, and takes pride in creating products and experiences its customers love while doing right by its employees, communities, and planet. Gap Inc. products are available for purchase worldwide through company-operated stores, franchise stores, and e-commerce sites. Fiscal year 2022 net sales were $15.6 billion. For more information, please visit www.gapinc.com

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