Life on earth relies on water and so does our industry. Yet water scarcity and quality are critical global issues. We are committed to reducing our own impact and working with others to better manage water together.

The link between climate change and water is well established. Around the world we are seeing floods, droughts and changing rainfall patterns, as well as water scarcity and pollution. In early 2022, a reassessment of the planetary boundary for freshwater shows we have crossed the safe-zone limit, risking deforestation and soil degradation.

We need to act. The fashion industry is one of the biggest users of water, from the production of raw materials to washing and dyeing fabrics. We must collaborate with governments, brands and other stakeholders to tackle water issues on a basin or catchment area level. We all have a responsibility to use less water, to minimise pollution and keep water clean for future generations.

Water strategy 2030

We’ve focused on becoming more water efficient and improving water in some of the world’s most stressed water basins but the freshwater clock is ticking, so now it’s time to take a fresh approach and broaden our impact.

Our vision is to have a positive impact on water by 2030. We want to build a business that is resilient to water crises and catalyse innovation to enable the fashion industry to decouple from water.1

Contextual targets

We used WWF’s Water Risk Filter to assess our value chain and set our contextual water targets.

Five focus areas

We will continue to work towards our contextual targets2, addressing water issues on a local level as well as engaging in water stewardship3 with partners and stakeholders.

To inspire our peers, we will share benchmarks, establish a cost for water that is integrated into all our sourcing decisions and create internal targets to incentivise better water performance.

We will invest in and scale up innovations such as zero/less water processes, new recycled materials and regenerative landscape projects. We will also support our supply chain to adopt water saving practices and technology.

Change mindsets
We need to ensure our organisation understands and values water better. To facilitate this shift in mindsets, we will visualise and create measurements for water use and impact when we design our clothes, for example.

Ecosystem innovation
To enable collaboration with stakeholders and partners, we are committed to disclose our water related actions, our dependencies and our performance.

Chittagong in Bangladesh, where H&M Group has several suppliers, vanishes under the rising sea level. © Jashim Salam / WWF-UK

Our projects

WWF partnership
We have worked with WWF for over a decade and water has been a focus of our collaboration since the beginning. To share our learnings from the partnership, we have co-published two guides to help other companies on a similar journey: Contextual Water Targets and Putting Water Strategy into Context. Find out more about our joint achievements here.

Water stewardship2
In Bangladesh, one of our key production countries, we are working with the Alliance for Stewardship, supplier factories, other clothing brands and local communities to improve water management on a basin level in three clusters – Gazipur, Narayanganj and Savar. In 2023, representatives from 15 of our supplier facilities completed training and a catchment assessment, and started engaging with local stakeholders.

Corporate Water Leaders Group
We support the Corporate Water Leaders Group, facilitated by Global Water Intelligence, which brings together fashion and homeware companies. The group is developing a water action framework to help brands and their supply chain partners build operational resilience and mitigate water impacts.

A connected system

Water, our natural world and the systems that support life on earth are interconnected and this is reflected in our business.

Our work around water, biodiversity, climate, chemicals, materials and circularity are linked. What we do in one area will benefit another and that’s why we have developed our sustainability strategies to complement each other. This way we can bring about greater impact.

A fisherman cleans his boat on the border between Laos and Cambodia. © Thomas Cristofoletti / WWF-US

1 For more information about our water goals and strategy, please see our Sustainability Disclosure, pages 35-37
2 Working to improve water in our suppliers will have a limited impact. Water stewardship allows us to manage water on a bigger scale that considers all users within a basin or catchment area. This includes local communities, business, agriculture and biodiversity.
3 Instead of setting general targets that cover all suppliers, contextual targets allow us to respond better to the individual water challenges of each of our 1,100 suppliers. Our contextual targets address water scarcity, water quality, governance, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), flooding and climate induced events.

We publish our Sustainability Disclosure annually. In this document, we set out our goals and the progress we’ve made in the previous year. Find the latest version here. More up to date information can be included on this page.