International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has joined hands with Sri Lanka’s Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) to promote energy conservation in the apparel sector, and thereby cut operating costs, increase profits, and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, the IFC said in a press release.
A recent investment-grade energy audit of seven apparel factories projected an electricity savings potential of 10 to 50 percent if conservation methods are adopted. Additionally, if all identified energy conservation measures are implemented by the audited factories, carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by approximately 16 percent annually, says the statement.
“Simple changes, including the use of energy efficient lights, air conditioners, and equipment will help make all the difference in reducing operating costs,” said Tuli Cooray, JAAF’s Secretary General, in the statement.
“Other measures like improvements to existing equipment will also boost energy efficiency,” Mr. Cooray adds.
The audit also highlighted the benefits of using renewable energy applications like biomass and rooftop solar systems.
The garment sector is one of the biggest industrial employment generators in Sri Lanka, and the sector is also among the largest contributors to Sri Lanka’s export earnings. However, on average, energy costs account for up to 15 percent of total operating costs of an apparel manufacturing unit.
“Increases in the cost of electricity and a heavy dependency on imported fuels such as diesel and kerosene directly affect the competitiveness of Sri Lanka’s apparel sector,” said Adam Sack, IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives.
From January to November 2013, Sri Lanka’s textiles and apparel exports were valued at US$ 4.054 billion, registering an increase of 11.6 percent over exports of US$ 3.633 billion made during the corresponding period of 2012, according to the data from the Economic Research Department of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.