Wastewater affects everyone on the planet, and it is only fair that everyone does their part to solve the issue.

In 2017 it was brought to TSC’s attention that, while wastewater is a known hotspot in the textiles industry, many manufacturing facilities forego its treatment, creating an uphill battle for those in the industry who are trying to do the right thing. TSC partnered with North Carolina State University to research the issue and begin to understand why wastewater is not being treated.

A landmark study conducted by China Water Risk, completed in 2017, diagnosed three key barriers to wastewater treatment in Chinese textile clusters:

1) a need for more training,

2) more help with chemical and technology sourcing, and

3) more financial support.

These factors resonated throughout the academic and trade literature, which eventually became the Resource Library. Given the challenges and opportunities outlined above, The Sustainability Consortium’s Wastewater Challenge Task Force has created this Toolbox of resources to help manufacturers, brands, retailers, and other partners address barriers to treatment.

While this work began with the textiles industry, it has expanded to include all sectors of the consumer goods industry.

To give everyone from retailers, to wastewater operators, to the general public the knowledge, tools, and support they need to make better decisions about wastewater treatment. We envision a landscape where 100% of wastewater is properly treated, and everyone has a part to play- whether it’s on the ground action or supporting brands that are doing the right thing.

TSC Wastewater Taskforce

This publicly available online platform includes resources which are both global in nature and specific to regional industrial clusters, as such regions and resources are identified. This project has focused its initial scope on addressing the gaps and needs identified by The 2017 China Water Risk assessment.

It is the long-term vision of the task force to develop an industry challenge called The Wastewater Challenge. This industry challenge would invite brands and retailers to sign on and commit to only sourcing product that has been produced with proper wastewater treatment practices in place.

The Toolbox is envisioned to provide the foundation of this industry challenge, creating a point of reference for brands and retailers to use when challenging their suppliers to implement appropriate technologies for treating wastewater. This type of market signal will drive incentives for treating wastewater and it will also drive people to the Toolbox to create more awareness of the issue.

About the Task Force

Since 2017 The Sustainability Consortium has been leading a task force of industry leaders to design, create, and pilot the Wastewater 101 Toolbox. Together we have rigorously combed through the research, asked the tough questions, and created a dynamic process of collaboration to present the issues, our research, and solutions in the most useful way possible.

The Wastewater Challenge Task Force is comprised of brands, retailers, and NGOs with global supply chain and sustainability expertise- but more than that they are people who genuinely care about the issues and have demonstrated both dedication and resilience through every phase of The Wastewater 101 Toolbox’s creation.

Task Force Members

Kurt Kipka Apparel Impact Institute
Michele Wallace Cotton Incorporated
Jesse Daystar Cotton Incorporated
Steven Pires Cotton Incorporated
Robert Lung (goes by Bruce) DOE
Scott Mock Fruit of the Loom
Adam Wade Fruit of the Loom
Philip Henson Hanes
Mohan Seneviratne Independent consultant
Erin Wong IPE
Dr. Karen Leonas NC State University
Jacqueline Sewell NC State University
Jessica Kosak The Sustainability Consortium
Sarah Lewis The Sustainability Consortium
Jennifer Park The Sustainability Consortium
Erika Ferrin The Sustainability Consortium
Nathan Bolivar The Sustainability Consortium
Yuliya Lapatkova The Sustainability Consortium
Kevin Dooley The Sustainability Consortium
Carolyn Baltz The Sustainability Consortium
Jessi Kosak The Sustainability Consortium
Jessi Leonard The Sustainability Consortium
Lance Cheramie University of Arkansas
Laurie Marie McAlister Apple University of Arkansas
Rachel Kraus University of Arkansas
Carol Crawford WMEP
Greg Gasper WMEP
Paul Reig WRI
Scott Echols ZDHC
Frank Michel ZDHC
Philip Chung ZDHC