Valuing water: the importance of clean water for garment industry workers

Themes: Health impact Hygiene Sanitation WASH Water
Countries: Bangladesh Bangladesh-local

The readymade garment industry is the lifeline of the Bangladesh economy. Yet, the workers in these factories who live in nearby low-income communities lack access to clean water, safe sanitation, and handwashing facilities.

Investing in these basic services at the community level can bring clear benefits for businesses – a healthier workforce means better productivity. For the workers, it means spending less time trying to source clean and affordable water and sanitation services, and an increase in household savings due to reduced illnesses.

In Dhaka, WSUP in partnership with Kontoor Brands Inc., an apparel company marketing brands such as Lee Wrangler, embarked on a project to improve access to water and sanitation services and improve hygiene behaviours for garment factory workers.

For Tanzina, a resident and factory worker, the new services in her community have been of immense value, “We are much healthier now. These improvements allowed us to avoid falling sick and increase our productivity in the workplace.”

By providing water and sanitation services both in and outside of the workplace, businesses are not only improving their operations but are also building stronger communities.

Wesley Gibson, Vice President & Managing Director, Product Supply at Kontoor Brands Inc. remarked, “We regularly deploy programmes outside the factories that have positive impacts in the surrounding communities. We do this to help ensure improvements in the water, sanitation and hygiene standards of factory workers.”

Learn more about WSUP’s work in Bangladesh