American clothing retailer GAP Inc (Gap) has announced that will open a new innovation center by next year to promote the adoption of proven techniques and technology that reduce water use by the textile manufacturing industry.

For the innovation hub, Gap has partnered with, Arvind Limited, its longtime sourcing and franchise partner in India and unit of Ahmedabad, Gujarat-based Lalbhai Group. Notably in 2016, Arvind Internet Limited (AIL), which is a division of Arvind Limited, had launched an online fashion e-commerce platform AIL was established in 2013 and touts itself as a hybrid startup of tech and fashion. AIL initially started with its custom clothing platform Creyate in 2014 and therefter in May 2016 launched the omni-channel retail platform Nnnow.

"The apparel industry is one of the most intensive users of water in the world and, in India, 54 percent of the population faces high to extremely high water risk," Gap describes in its press release.

The two companies will open a new innovation center by 2020 and will promote the adoption of proven techniques and technology that reduce water use by the textile manufacturing industry. Additionally, Arvind and Gap Inc. are also investing in a new water treatment facility that will eliminate the use of fresh water at Arvind's denim mill in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The company claims that the facility will save 3-billion-liters of fresh water by the end of 2020 and preserve the local community’s vital freshwater resources.

The new center 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.

Coming up in 18,000-square foot space, the innovation center will feature -

  • installations that showcase water management best practices and recycling technologies;

  • a library;

  • Lab space to develop water management solutions as well as classroom training and conference space.

Once completed, "the innovation center will generate scalable solutions that can be replicated at other mills and laundries," says Gap.

Incubation & Accelerator

With upcoming innovation hub, Gap is aiming to improve urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) (Refer) sector performance through incubation and acceleration of innovative solutions, technologies, programs and service delivery models within a collaborative framework.

To achieve this, the innovation center will focus on promoting innovative solutions and outcome oriented capacity and knowledge building initiatives. The project will support the WASH programs at the national level, including three cities in selected states, and directly benefit about 150,000 people, including roughly 75,000 female beneficiaries. This project is also supported by private sector donors including YES Bank, Ennovent and Valluri.

In 2017, Gap along with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) had launched the Women + Water Alliance in India, a partnership to improve and sustain the health and well-being of women and communities touched by the apparel industry.

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