Water has been the lifeblood of our mills since their foundation. Our locations in Elgin and Hawick provide access to the rivers Lossie and Teviot, which powered our mills and still provide the soft water used to wash and finish our products.
We are fortunate to operate in Scotland, an area of relatively low water stress. Most of the water used at our Elgin mill, where most of our wet processing takes place, is taken from a borehole on site, deemed by SEPA to be at a level that poses no environmental risk. During 2022, the amount of water withdrawn from the borehole averaged 85% of total consumption at Elgin.
Although we are in a favourable position relative to the textile industry globally, we cannot be complacent, and climate change might impact water availability over time. We are therefore investing in increased metering to identify in-process losses and will then set targets for reduction in usage.
Outside our own mills, the most significant water use is in the scouring process, washing the fibre in Mongolia and China before it is shipped to the UK. We are engaging directly with our partners to better understand their usage, the impact in those locations and their future plans for water conservation. We use industry-standard tools to build our understanding of water and biodiversity-related challenges.