Recently, Inditex chairman and CEO Pablo Isla met film star Matt Damon and Gary White, co-founders of Water.org, an international organisation the mission of which is to provide safe water and sanitation to people in need. He reaffirmed the Spanish apparel retail giant's commitment to Water.org that carries out water projects in countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia.
With the goal of directly improving the health of more than 160,000 people, Inditex provided an initial €3.7 million to support projects in Bangladesh and Cambodia in late 2015. Water.org is a hugely effective vehicle to deliver change around the critical issue of water management particularly in vulnerable regions. After reviewing the progress and success during the first year working together, Damon and White thanked Inditex for its support. Work has been done to support the successful implementation of WaterCredit that brings small, affordable loans to those who need access to financing and expert resources to make household water and sanitation solutions a reality.
Progress in Bangladesh includes identifying and partnering with several micro-finance institutions and training their loan officers to market and support these life-changing loans. On the other hand in Cambodia, more than 6,000 people have gained critical access to safe water and/or improved sanitation. The work being done through Water.org's New Ventures Fund which is a principal source of innovation funding was also discussed.
Inditex has earmarked one-quarter of its contribution to Water.org to researching new resources and approaches designed to combat the world's water crisis. The World Economic Forum has deemed water management one of the world's biggest problems, one which already affects more than 660 million people worldwide.