In Inditex, we consider collaboration with international organizations a key tool to improve the sustainability performance of the textile supply chain. We work with several universities, like the University of Santiago de Compostela, University of A Coruña and Polytechnic University of Catalonia, as well as other international organizations to improve the environmental performance of the textile supply chain to achieve Zero Discharge in 2020. We focus our collaboration on chemical management and waste water treatments.

Phase 1. Chemical Management

We collaborate with experts from Universities in the following projects aimed to update our standards and improve chemical management in the textile supply chain:

Restricted Substances List (RSL) updated, a team of 6 chemists from the University of Santiago de Compostela is continuously scanning the relevant national and international regulations to update our health and safety standards.

Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL), a team of 2 chemists from the University of Santiago de Compostela is dedicated to evaluate the toxicity information available for the substances included in the MRSL as well as for the candidates for inclusion in the list.

Toxicity studies, 4 biologists from the University of Santiago de Compostela are developing a quantitative toxicity screening methodology to determine the level of toxicity and guide the substitution studies.

Origins of undesirable substances in manufacturing processes, a team of experts from the University of Santiago de Compostela is developing methods to establish how processes in the textile industry may give rise to undesirable substances.

Cleaner manufacturing alternatives, a team of 3 textile engineers from the University of Catalonia is developing cleaner technologies for leather processing.

Evaluation and data mining of test results, a team from the Universities of Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña is developing statistical tools for evaluation of the test results of the analysis performed on products, substances and waste water.

Design of commercially viable substitutions for specific manufacturing processes, a team of technologists from Technical Advice, S.L. and Pulcra Chemiclas is developing processes to substitute, for instance, the use of PFCs in water repellent textile finishes.

Building analytical and testing strength. In cooperation with SGS, Intertek, TÜV SÜD, Bureau Veritas, UL and other reputed international analytical service providers, we build up a network of more than 50 laboratories in 3 continents to check our articles, the substances used in their manufacturing, as well as the samples of waste water taken from our supply chain.

Phase 2. Strategies for management of waste water

As part of our collaborative agreement with the University of La Coruña, their Water and Environmental Engineering Group (GEAMA, Grupo de Enxeñeria da Auga e do Medio Ambiente) has developed protocols to evaluate and monitor water management in the supply chain, obtaining, in first place, data on the consumption and use of water in the textile industry. At the same time, a detailed database has been compiled regarding contaminants that are found in waste water from textile processes, since this is necessary in order to establish how this relates to discharge policies in different countries and possible strategies for recycling and reuse.

An inventory has been compiled, containing the existing technologies for treatment of waste water from textile processes and systems that allow automated control of the treatments, in order to guide suppliers towards improved management of their waste water.

Phase 3. Bangladesh Water PaCT

Since 2014, Inditex has participated, together with another eight textile brands, in the Bangladesh Water PaCT project, also known as the Partnership for Cleaner Production, an international initiative that seeks to promote changes in the textile sector in Bangladesh. For four years, we shall participate in various activities aimed at environmental and social improvements in wet process mills. For this purpose, we have selected several mills in our supply chain to participate in the Bangladesh Water PaCT program. The participating mills will receive recommendations on the following topics:

  • Actions aimed at minimising the use of water, energy and raw materials and to reduce waste and discharges while at the same time maximising their gains; their general costs could be reduced by 30 - 50%
  • Their water footprint, an indicator of direct and indirect water consumption during the manufacture of a product. 

These recommendations will allow over 200 wet process mills to attain a more sustainable production, reducing both their waste water emissions and the water footprint of their activities.

More information in