Freshwater is a vital resource and fundamental for all life on earth. Although critical to natural and human communities, our freshwater sources are threatened by challenges such as overdevelopment, pollution and global warming. Today, nearly two billion people around the world live in areas at risk from severe water scarcity, while water crises are one of the greatest risks to the global economy.

The WWF and IKEA partnership is working to address water challenges and improve water management, both within IKEA supply chain and beyond. Our internal actions focus on increasing water awareness within IKEA and its suppliers, to enhance understanding on water impacts from IKEA operations, as well as eliminate water pollution and facilitate efficient water use across the whole of IKEA supply chain.

Through our projects we aim to contribute to healthy water flows and improved biodiversity. The partnership is working on ground in two river basins in India and Turkey, promoting Water Stewardship and collective action to find shared solutions for better water management and a more sustainable textile industry.

We are also working together on improving water management in cotton cultivation. For more information about our cotton work, read here.

The way we workWater Stewardship


Since 2014, the WWF and IKEA partnership has been working together on water issues, using the Water Stewardship approach. Water Stewardship is a holistic approach for companies to act on water risks and water impacts through stakeholder engagement, better management and governance influence to protect shared water resources, biodiversity and ecosystems. The engagement includes targeting suppliers, staff, consumers, governments and other stakeholders, such as business peers and civil society and involves learning, acting, doing and improving. The partnership’s work aims to improve water awareness and reduce water risks in IKEA supply chain.

The Water Stewardship ladder.

The first three steps of the Water Stewardship ladder are focused on internal water actions. For the WWF and IKEA partnership this includes organizing water risk trainings for IKEA staff and key suppliers, as well as development of Water Stewardship guidance to improve water awareness and to build a deeper knowledge on how to integrated Water Stewardship in daily operations.  Together, WWF and IKEA have also conducted water risk assessment among IKEA suppliers to provide an overview of IKEA global water risk exposures and recommended tailor-made mitigation plans. The water risks are analyzed using WWF’s Water Risk Filter, an online tool that enables users to explore, assess, and respond to water risks.

Collective action in India and Turkey

Collective action and governance are the fourth and fifth steps of the Water Stewardship ladder. The WWF and IKEA partnership work is focusing on two river basins: the Noyyal Bhavani basin in India and the Buyuk Menderes basin in Turkey. These areas are not only hotspots for biodiversity, the river basins are also important sites of the global textile industry, making sustainable water governance crucial when protecting the ecosystems and the people living in the area.

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Noyyal Bhavani basin, India

The Noyyal and Bhavani rivers originate from the Western Ghats, India, is one of the global biodiversity hotspots, with several biosphere reserves, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries. The forests surrounding the rivers are very rich in flora and fauna hosting the country’s largest population of Asian Elephants and Bengal Tigers.

The Noyyal Bhavani Water Stewardship programme is working to address the basin’s environmental challenges by understanding the  interactions and trade-offs between users and sectors in the river basin, and proposing and testing solutions to strengthen the positive interactions leading to healthy river ecosystems and water security. The work includes combating invasive species and ensuring natural river flows, better agricultural practices, wetlands conservation, sectoral and regional platforms for collective action and clean technology implementation inside the textile factories.

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The Büyük Menderes river, Turkey

The Büyük Menderes river is important for the socio economic development of Turkey, the river is surrounded by agriculture, cotton production and textile industries.

The Buyuk Menderes basin plays a role on the international stage with its three important wetlands, Bafa Lake, Isikli Lake and Büyük Menderes Delta, together with ten legally protected areas. Its location and diversity create habitats for a variety of species such as the Dalmatian pelican and the European eel. In the basin, the Büyük Menderes programme, works with other stakeholders in creating a model for conservation and sustainable use of water resources through cleaner production in the textile industry. The programme also promotes Water Stewardship and regenerative agriculture in cotton production and the protection of the ecosystem and biodiversity. The aim is to scale up this model and use it as a best practice example to be implemented in other river basins across Turkey.


Press releases and news

Contact us

Programme Manager Freshwater
Shirley Shen,

Programme Manager Freshwater
Saba Dar,