Water Stewardship in the Textiles & Apparel Sector

Alliance for Water Stewardship / Priority Sectors  / Textiles and Apparel / Water Stewardship in the Textiles & Apparel Sector


Water is a vital sustainability consideration for the textiles and apparel sector. It can also be one of the most complicated to manage.

Many strategies focus on site-level water usage and pollution, but addressing all of the sector’s water risks — from water scarcity impacting raw materials to a lack of safe water for workers — requires us to think beyond the four walls of the fabric mill, dyehouse or manufacturing facility. It requires an understanding of how water impacts are felt across a business and its value chain.

The Alliance for Water Stewardship provides a systematic and auditable approach to guide your water stewardship journey, along with the tools, expertise and helping hands needed to implement the AWS Standard across value chains.


Global climate change, growing economies and changing lifestyles are putting increasing pressure on the earth’s limited freshwater resources. Water stewardship is a holistic approach for using and protecting the water we all depend on.

Our approach to water stewardship not only ensures that the most important water risks are managed but also provides a mechanism to inspire conversations and action among those entities sharing water resources. The result: stronger stakeholder relationships and an increase in a community’s collective resilience.

Read our resources for more information:

>Water Stewardship – A Briefing for the Textiles & Apparel Sector

> Water Stewardship: A Resources for the Textiles & Apparel Sector 

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The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) exists to tackle the urgent global challenges driven by water insecurity. Our mission is to ignite and nurture global and local leadership in credible water stewardship that recognises and secures freshwater’s social, cultural, environmental and economic value.

Learn more about us by reading the AWS Strategy 2022-2030: Accelerating Impact.


AWS is two mutually supportive things:

1. A sustainability standard system

  • The International Water Stewardship Standard (AWS Standard) is a globally applicable framework for major water users to understand, measure and advance their water stewardship performance.
  • Built on a five-step process that guides water users to consider the most critical water impacts (see diagram).
  • Driven by five outcomes: good water governance; sustainable water balance; good water quality status; important water-related areas (IWRAs) and water, sanitation and hygiene for all (WASH).
  • Developed to implement on any site or within any catchment, sector or geography.
  • Underpinned by third-party certification to enable sites to make credible claims on their water stewardship performance.
  • Fully compliant with ISEAL, the global alliance for credible standard systems.

2. A multi-stakeholder membership-based alliance

AWS and its members support the adoption and promotion of the AWS Standard. Our collaborative network works hand-in-hand towards the same goals: using water stewardship to protect the shared water resources we all rely on.

We support action on two levels:

  • Global: We raise awareness and driver water user engagement worldwide.
  • Local: We build capacity and momentum by connecting AWS-implementing sites with stakeholders and activities.


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If you want to know more about our work in our priority sectors or join one of our working groups, please get in touch using the contact form below.

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