What is your water footprint?
We know we can’t survive without it. We drink it, use it in cooking, wash with it, grow with it, we wear it, even our mobile phones need it! Without water we would cease to exist! And yet we waste it! Leave taps running when we wash our teeth, endless baths and washing of clothes that aren’t dirty!
We know how many gallons(3,900 litres) it takes to make a T-shirt – Stacey Dooley has reminded us! I didn’t know, however, it takes 4 times that to produce a mobile phone (around 13,000 litres)!!!
Table source: Friends of the Earth
This water is not coming from our resources in the western world obviously, but from the water tables of the manufacturing hubs such as India, China, Mexico, Egypt or Brazil. These are some of the most water scarce countries on the planet, where environmental sustainability is not a priority, where clean water is not always accessible, is being used at a rate that cannot be replenished and what is available comes at a high price.
There are billions living with water scarcity, freshwater ecosystems unable to sustain fish stocks, water crisis is now one of the highest ranked global risks!
The top-10 clothing companies use over 2,800 billion litres of water a year – the equivalent of 1 million Olympic-size swimming pools.
Of these top clothing brands, some are starting to react, such as H&M who are working with the Sweden Water Initiative, to better manage and reduce their water consumption throughout their supply chain.
It is up to the consumer to vote with their wallets and not buy into brands and companies who are not doing something to reduce their water consumption throughout their value chains. Before you buy that new top or trainers, latest mobile phone, or even your weekly food shop, consider how your water footprint will grow with these purchases.
Watch out for brands who take caring for water seriously. Check out what companies are doing to use water sustainably across their value chain by studying sustainability reports, we just need to do a bit of homework and find out who these companies are and what they are doing to reverse these troubling trends.