Spanish clothing giant Inditex has revealed it will allocate EUR3.7m (US$4m) to water crisis solutions non-profit organisation, Water.org, to improve access to safe water and sanitation in developing countries such as Bangladesh and Cambodia. 

The company, whose brands include Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear and Bershka, says the money will facilitate more than 33,000 micro loans and benefit more than 160,000 people. 

Under a four-year partnership agreement between the two organisations, Water.org will allocate almost EUR3m to its WaterCredit programme. The project, Inditex said, aims to empower people with low incomes in developing countries to gain access to small loans for water and sanitation, increasing the population's access to these basic necessities. 

In particular, it will expand the scope of activities already underway in Bangladesh and will develop the initiative in Cambodia, which is expected to directly improve the lives of more than 160,000 people in both countries.

The WaterCredit model is achieved in conjunction with selected local partners, principally micro finance institutions, which secure capital for the loans themselves. In turn, this enables philanthropic investments to make a greater and more efficient impact, Inditex explained.  

A quarter of the overall contribution to Water.org will be sent to the funds reservation for research and development, New Ventures Fund, which the NGO will use to discover new ways to combat the water crisis. Inditex will serve on the council of the R&D fund to analyse the annual developments.

Inditex said it considers investment in social programmes to be a "fundamental pillar" in improving global well-being and in strengthening the communities with which it works in. The collaboration with Water.org is related to Inditex's commitment to using sustainable water supplies. The Inditex Global Water Management Strategy constitutes a roadmap, which allows the group to collaborate with special interest groups concerned with sustainable and rational water management (suppliers, clients, employees, administrations and NGOs).