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Retailers & IFC roll out sustainable initiatives in 12 apparel units
Oct '11
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and its partners have helped textile factories in Bangladesh save $1 million and reduce water consumption by 75 million liters under a cleaner-production initiative that is designed to make the country's garment industry more sustainable and globally competitive.

Working with the Dutch organization Solidaridad and six leading garment-industry buyers, IFC brought in global and regional experts to deliver hands-on knowledge and experience to local consultants. The initiative was introduced by SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility, which is managed by IFC, in partnership with the U.K. Department for International Development and the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation. Key international buyers participating in the program included H&M, KappAhl, Lindex, Mothercare, Levi's, and WE Fashions.

IFC has rolled out the initiative at 12 factories so far, and preliminary results show that the implementation of clean and resource-efficient production methods there yielded significant savings. Estimates show that if the industry's 1,700 textile wet-processing units adopt cleaner production measures, they can save up to $70 million and 10.5 billion liters of water per year—in a country where 31 million people do not have access to clean water.

“The success of this project will allow the Bangladesh textile sector to gain a competitive edge in the world market by showcasing its efforts towards a greener supply chain,” said Monika M. Weber-Fahr, who leads IFC's Sustainable Business Advisory business line. She spoke at a workshop in which she stressed the importance of expanding cleaner production initiatives in Bangladesh.

Leading European and American clothing brands that procure their merchandise from Bangladesh are also optimistic about rolling out the initiative across the country's garment industry.

M. A. Jabbar, Managing Director, DBL Group, expressed the views of the participating factories, saying that the “benefits of implementing cleaner production measures are many and are financially rewarding.” He added: “We will implement similar measures in all our production units.”

Promoting sustainable business is a focus of IFC's work in Bangladesh. Besides providing advisory support to key industries, IFC is also working with financial institutions to facilitate financing for sustainable energy.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group

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