How offsetting our emissions can have a life changing impact: Water Boreholes, Kenya

One thing we knew when we came to offsetting our carbon footprint was that we didn’t want to choose the cheapest option just to tick a box. Yes, that would counteract our carbon emissions. But we knew our financial contribution could make a life changing if not life-saving difference to people if we found the right project.

Earlier this year we announced that we are now climate positive. One of the steps we took when we became climate positive was to offset not just BAM’s footprint but the entire footprint of our clothing. You can read about what it involved in our blog When carbon neutral isn’t enough. Why we’re climate positive.

This choice to be climate positive meant we were offsetting nearly five times as much than if we had simply chosen to be carbon neutral. It would be a significant proportion of our profit. We had to make it count.

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Why Water Boreholes, Kenya?

The textile industry uses huge amounts of water. And although bamboo is sustainable, requiring no irrigated water, the fibre production, dyeing and finishing of fabric has a high water footprint.

In addition to our carbon goals and as part of our commitment to being impact positive, our goal is to have zero wasted or polluted water in our supply chain by 2030. While we work on achieving this, we want to support work which has a positive impact on this precious resource and the people in need of it the most. When we found Water Boreholes, Kenya, we knew we’d found the right project for BAM. Here’s why.

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It provides clean drinking water.

Nearly a billion people do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. The WHO estimates that by 2025 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity.

Thanks to this project, so far more than 60 boreholes have been rehabilitated, benefiting about 37,000 people. Each carbon credit we buy provides approximately 1000 litres of fresh drinking water. By offsetting our 2019 carbon footprint for the entire lifecycle of our clothes, we will have helped to provide 8.1 million litres of fresh drinking water.

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It saves carbon and reduces deforestation

This project works in communities that don’t have access to clean water and repairs or builds boreholes so that they do.

This work has a lifechanging and life-saving impact.

It also saves carbon being released into the atmosphere.

Without working boreholes, these communities have to collect firewood and burn it to boil the water and purify it. Burning the wood releases carbon emissions and so repairing boreholes saves those emissions. At the same time, it reduces deforestation as wood is no longer needed for burning.

We’re planting mangrove trees

For every carbon credit we buy from this project we also pay for a mangrove sapling to be planted through the Million Mangroves project. Mangrove trees absorb four times as much carbon as a rainforest and mangrove forests which are found on coastlines around the world are vital ecosystems for wildlife. Kenya has suffered massive deforestation with 80% of the mangrove forests cut down to provide fuel or income to local communities. The Million Mangrove projects aims to reverse that while providing alternative sources of income for local communities.

If you’d like to know more about our goals to tackle our impact on the climate, water, land, waste, chemicals as well as to ensure everyone in our supply chain is treated equally and with respect, read more about our journey to becoming impact positive