Inditex shores up its young appeal with humanitarian credentials
When you think about the impending water crisis – in brief, the dearth of clean, drinkable, water against the fast-growing population of more than 7 billion currently occupying the globe – a few companies might pop into your head. Dominion holding Xylem Inc., for example, which has the rather unambiguous “Let’s Solve Water” as its motto. One company you probably don’t think of is leading fashion retailer Inditex. We’re about to change that.
Water.org is an international organization, founded by Matt Damon (yes, that Matt Damon) and Gary White, which aims to bring safe water and sanitation to those in need of it. Inditex first showed an interest in the non-profit back in late 2015. Since then, Water.org has “positively transformed more than five million lives around the world through access to safe water and sanitation,” and the fast-fashion experts have helped to contribute to that success.
Just a few days ago, Inditex CEO Pablo Isla met with Water.org’s founders to commit further to their mission – with an initial €3.7 million donation. The money will support projects in Bangladesh and Cambodia, and could “directly improve” the health of over 160,000 people.
Isla said: “Inditex and Water.org are absolutely complimentary. Water.org is a hugely effective vehicle to deliver change around the critical issue of water management, particularly in vulnerable regions. This is an issue to which we ascribe huge importance and the work carried out by Water.org is admirable.”
White and Damon praised Inditex for its contributions, with White (who is CEO), saying: “We are grateful to Inditex for their support. We share their belief in smart solutions, empowering consumers and the critical role of market based approaches in achieving social change.”
Inditex, of course, is the fashion giant behind popular brands like Zara and Massimo Dutti. It’s best known as a pioneer of the ‘fast fashion’ trend (although Isla has expressed frustration in the past at being seen as “just” a fast-fashion company). This focus on fast-fashion means that Inditex’s business model is incredibly efficient at responding to customer preferences – something that has played well with Millennial consumers.
The company’s more ethical concerns – although undoubtedly genuine, and undoubtedly useful – will also work as fantastic PR. To Millennials, ethics are deeply important in business.
Dominion holds Inditex in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.
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