human rights

100 Water Heroes: Eileen Fisher

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Founder of EILEEN FISHER INC

Eileen Fisher is the founder of EILEEN FISHER INC, a highly successful clothing brand that puts human rights and sustainability at the forefront of their work.

Currently, 70% of the cotton used in their production is organically sourced and, as a way to cut down on fabric and fiber waste, the company has developed a recycling programme. Customers can take their ‘gently used’ clothing back to the store and are gifted a $5 coupon for each returned item. The garments are dry cleaned and resold, with all revenue put towards funding leadership programmes and business grants for women. This system has collected and sorted over 1 million pieces of clothing.

As part of their move towards complete sustainability, the company has launched Vision2020, an overview of their goal to reach 100% sustainability by 2020. This includes a pledge to use only the most sustainable, organic fibers, as well as wool that comes from ethically raised sheep. They are also funding alternative energy sources, and reducing their reliance on air shipping. By 2020, they aim to be not only climate neutral, but climate positive.

Speaking on the role her company has to play in changing the world, Eileen states:

I feel there's a role for EILEEN FISHER to play in this shift by sharing the collaboration skills we practice and helping to create the kind of change that wouldn't be possible if each of us acted alone. When I give talks, I often say that business can, indeed, change the world. EILEEN FISHER has done a lot by committing to organic and sustainable fibers, manufacturing clothing in the USA and recycling our clothes with EILEEN FISHER Renew. There's much more to do. And I believe we can do it. I believe we can make a difference. Business can be a movement.

Eileen is one of our #100WaterHeroes for leading a clothing company that has put human rights and sustainability at the forefront of their work, showing us that businesses can make a difference.

100 Water Heroes: Kiana Alavi

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Engagement Officer (End Water Poverty) at WaterAid

Kiana Alavi is a blogger, photographer, campaigner, humanitarian and activist. She currently works as the Engagement Officer for Wateraid’s End Water Poverty (EWP) initiative. Launched in 2007, EWP is a “global civil society coalition, campaigning to end the water and sanitation crisis.” The movement now reaches over 150 members in more than 90 countries throughout the world. In collaboration with members from a range of backgrounds, from large NGOs to community organisations, they work towards achieving universal access to WASH.

Prior to her work with Wateraid, Kiana worked as the Global Campaign Officer for Save the Children International, on their Every Last Child Campaign. Save the Children International is the world’s leading independent organisation for children. Kiana led the organisation’s Every Last Child Campaign in their goal to “ensure that 15 million of the world's excluded children have access to life-saving healthcare and quality education.”

Co-Authored by Anjani Kapoor, Kiana recently wrote a piece entitled Accountability is the Key to Unlocking the Human Rights to WASH in which she poignantly states:

Judging by the progress levels on reaching SDG 6, many governments are treating these global goals as non-binding and ambitious commitments; but they are in fact achievable, but only if we act now. Stakeholders must stop waiting to take action tomorrow or in the near future and make the necessary changes today. The thought of being asked to not use a toilet to relieve ourselves or to not drink any water until the near future is unthinkable. So why not apply the same principle to our efforts in achieving Goal 6?

Kiana is one of our #100WaterHeroes for her impactful human rights work and for her commitment to ensuring access sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene for ALL.

Twitter: @Kianavi

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/kiana-alavi-3b038a74

100 Water Heroes: Christopher Swain

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Human Rights Advocate and Open Water Swimmer

Christopher Swain is a Human Rights Activist and Open Water Swimmer who has been advocating for clean waterways since 1996. Through his swimming expeditions, Christopher became the first ever person to swim the lengths of the Hudson, Columbia, Mohawk, Charles and Mystic Rivers, as well as significant portions of the USA’s Atlantic coastline and Lake Champlain.

Christopher swims to draw the world’s attention to threatened waterways and encourage related conservation and restoration efforts. Christopher takes photographs, videos and journals throughout his swims, and interviews a variety of stakeholders in the sector. His swims have taken place in a myriad of concerning contexts, and he has come into contact with sewage, nuclear waste and pesticides. All of this to spotlight the global water crisis.

Christopher was the youngest conservationist featured in Rachel White Scheuring’s 2005 book Shapers of the Great Debate on Conservation: A Biographical Dictionary. In 2007, he was awarded the Harry E. Schlenz Public Education Medal from the Water Environment Federation.

Christopher is one of our #100WaterHeroes for dedicating his life to swimming and advocating for our threatened waterways.

Twitter: @SwimWithSwain

Facebook: @SwimWithSwain

Website: http://www.swimwithswain.org/

100 Water Heroes: Hilde-Gunn Vestad

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Director Compliance & Sustainability at Lidl Hong Kong Limited

Hilde-Gunn Vestad is the Director of Compliance and Sustainability at Lidl Hong Kong Limited. Originating from Norway, Hilde moved to the Asia Pacific, and has lived and worked there since. Hilde has led a career of impact, and has been involved in a range of sustainability programmes in the fast fashion, sporting goods and retail industries.

In 2003, prior to her work with Lidl, Hilde joined the adidas Group, where she audited a wide range of suppliers throughout Asia Pacific. Hilde has long since been an advocate for workers’ rights, migrant workers’ rights, human rights and women’s rights. Her involvement in this sphere led to her serving on the board the Mekong Club, a group that fights modern day slavery. Hilde is also on the board of amfori, a “global business association for open and sustainable trade.”

In addition to her impactful work in the Compliance and Sustainability field, Hilde has been an avid supporter of #RunningDry since its inception. She has passionately highlighted the movement and its purpose every day, on every platform. Hilde has contributed a massive 71km to #RunningDry, ensuring the movement grows and awareness surrounding the global water crisis spreads.

Hilde is one of our #100WaterHeroes because of her impactful work in Compliance and Sustainability, and for her tenacious support of the #RunningDry movement.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/hilde-gunn-vestad-1b82bb14

Twitter: @HildeVestad 

100 Water Heroes: Queen Rania Al Abdullah

Queen Rania Al Abdullah is the queen consort of Jordan and is known for her humanitarian focus and for using her platform to advocate for women’s right and issues of sustainability. In 1995, she founded the Jordan River Foundation, which seeks to “boost employment and conservation through eco-tourism projects.”

One of her most significant contributions to environmental sustainability in Jordan was the creation of the Arab Sustainability Leadership Group. The results of their first serious project were released in 2009 in the Responsible Competitiveness in the Arab World report, highlighting what companies can do to secure financial success, as well as operating in transparent, environmentally sustainable ways. In the introduction of the report, Queen Rania stated:

"A new architecture for a sustainable global economy must be designed now; it must guide new business practices today"

In addition to her work with the Arab Sustainability Leadership Group, Queen Rania has supported local farmers and encouraged organic farming practices, hoping to “provide health, environmental, and economic benefits while also helping to address the serious water shortages in the region” (Hattam, 2009).

Queen Rania is one of our #100WaterHeroes for her humanitarian and environmental initiatives, and for using her platform to uplift and empower the local community.

Twitter: @QueenRania

Facebook: @QueenRania

Instagram: @queenrania