A new wastewater operations training program aims to improve water and wastewater management and treatment throughout the textile supply chains around the world.

The training program was developed through a collaboration between the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme, and Nike.

“There are tremendous opportunities to improve water quality and quantity by enhancing industrial wastewater management programs such as those in the global textile industry,” said WEF President Jackie Jarrell. “WEF is excited to collaborate with ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme and Nike, and about the potential for impact in communities in Asia and Latin America.”

The ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme Wastewater Guidelines standardizes wastewater testing requirements in the global apparel, textile, and footwear supply chains. Suppliers share their wastewater testing results simultaneously with clients through the ZDHC Gateway—Wastewater Module. An analysis of the test reports identified an opportunity to improve wastewater operations and wastewater quality by offering increased and improved operator training.

“Improved wastewater treatment and 90 per cent freshwater reduction in the textile industry are limited only by commitment and capability,” said John Rydzewski, director of water programs at Nike. “This collaboration is a fantastic opportunity to develop the necessary capabilities and reach a broader audience.”

The ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme will facilitate global training for wastewater operators throughout footwear and apparel industry supply chains. The program partners are collaborating to evolve the WEF training manual, trainer’s kit, and exams to support ongoing training of wastewater operators. WEF will also begin translating its training materials into Mandarin and Vietnamese, in addition to Spanish. Nike, who helped develop the curriculum and supported the translations, will use the materials as part of ongoing water conservation efforts in its supply chain.

“We believe that the education and training resources provided by WEF are very much needed to support the implementation of the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme Wastewater Guidelines in textile, leather, and apparel value chain,” said Scott Echols, the programme director at the ZHDC Foundation. “[We] look forward to working together with WEF to strengthen our collaboration.”


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