The new tool enables companies to better manage water consumption throughout the supply chain.

DNV GL, a global engineering consultancy firm, partnered with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and launched a new tool that enables the textile industry to sustainably manage water consumption.

The tool is a self-assessment device designed especially for textile firms that evaluates the water footprint in manufacturing processes — its data enables companies to better manage water consumption throughout the supply chain. Usage of the tool and interpretation of its data will be facilitated by the Global Network for Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production, which supports organizations in over 60 developing countries. The tool is targeted for small and medium-sized textile companies.

Forty percent of the global population is affected by water scarcity and while 2.5 percent of the world’s water is freshwater, only 0.5 percent is available for the population. Water is a central component of manufacturing processes in the textile industry as vast amounts of water are used in every stage of the supply chain, including fabric preparation steps, dyes, specialty chemicals and finishing chemicals. The reduction of water consumption via sustainable production processes is intended to provide benefits for participating companies as well as communities they reside in.

The new tool enables companies to better manage water consumption throughout the supply chain.  Shutterstock / MR. Nattanon Kanchak

Smail Alhilali, the industrial development officer and manager of the global resource efficiency and cleaner production program at UNIDO, said that “The textiles processing industry is heavily dependent on water in virtually all steps of the production process, from desizing to bleaching and dyeing. It has one of the most extensive water footprints of all sectors.” Alhilali added, “That’s why we have developed this tool, which is a measure for textile companies to obtain a better understanding of their resource efficiency and insight into where they can reduce consumption.”

Part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is the adoption of sustainable production by companies and water access for all by 2030, the organization said.

Antonio Astone, the global sustainability manager at DNV GL Business Assurance said that “DNV GL and UNIDO have a common interest in combating water scarcity and improving industry awareness of water-related risks and opportunities. This is an area where companies have a significant potential for improvement and we are pleased to use our combined expertise to help industries assess and reduce their water footprint.”

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