Around the world, women and girls spend 200 million hours collecting water each day. That’s enough time to build 28 Empire State Buildings. Every day.
The roughly 1 billion people living in slums around the world often pay 5-10 times more for water than those in the U.S. and other advanced economies. And did you know that 3.5 million people die each year from water-related illness? That’s more than four times the population of San Francisco.
From drought-stricken California to the developing countries where our clothes are made, water is absolutely critical to our daily lives and livelihoods. That’s why Gap Inc. is doing more to help address some of these challenges.
Everyone deserves access to clean and safe water. So we are working to help ensure the women who work in the factories that make our clothes have the support they need to access healthy water sources. To achieve this goal, we plan to build on the foundation of the Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. program, which teaches women factory workers life and work skills, and has already helped more than 25,000 women across seven countries. Our efforts will help workers and their families live healthier, more productive lives.
Of course none of this matters much if the water isn’t available in the first place.
Environmental experts predict global demand for water could exceed supply by 40 percent within the next two decades. Through partners like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, we are also working with factories to reduce the amount of water they use to manufacture our products. And through our Water Quality Program, the denim laundries that wash our jeans are treating the water they discharge to help protect the quality of water in those communities.
We’re exploring even more water conservation and management opportunities in the communities where we live and work. We look forward to sharing more as our programs continue to develop and expand. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.