Dhaka, Bangladesh, October 2, 2010—
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is working with Bangladesh’s textile industry to improve environmental standards and promote cleaner production methods in collaboration with the Dutch-based nongovernmental Solidaridad and five leading buyers.
This cleaner production initiative, new in the Bangladesh textile sector, is led by the SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility, which is managed by IFC Advisory Services in South Asia, in partnership with the Norwegian Agency for Development and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.
Under the initiative, IFC will mobilize regional and international consultants who will transfer knowledge and build capacity of local consulting firms and service providers. Cleaner-production auditors will work with management teams at participating textile plants to assess existing practices, help implement methodologies for improving performance, and achieve effective waste-management and energy savings. These efforts are expected to increase the profitability of small and medium enterprises, allowing them to invest in effluent treatment plants and energy-efficient technologies.
Textile manufacturing in Bangladesh has a huge environmental footprint, annually discharging as much as 56 million tons of waste water, 0.5 million tons of sludge, and consuming tremendous amounts of energy for steam and hot water. Leading European and American brands such as H&M, Kappahl, Lindex, Levis, and Mothercare, which procure their goods from Bangladesh, are optimistic about this initiative.
“This is a big step forward in promoting responsible environmental practices, and H&M is committed to working with other stakeholders to promote environment compliance standards in the industry to ensure its long-term sustainability,” said Basirun Nabi Khan, CSR Regional Manager, H&M Dhaka.
Ian Crosby, Manager of IFC Advisory Services in Bangladesh expressed his enthusiasm for the program in Bangladesh, “Sustainability of the textiles and apparels sector is vital for Bangladesh to ensure its continued economic growth. Successful completion of this project will allow Bangladesh textile sector to gain a competitive edge in the world market by showcasing its efforts towards a greener supply chain.”
As part of the initiative, baseline assessments will be taken at participating factories to help identify areas of potential cost savings against energy, chemical, and water usage. The findings will be used to demonstrate better cost control and improved operational efficiency, helping ensure ongoing competiveness of the textile sector as well as reduce its environmental footprint.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is the largest development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives—by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and provide essential services, mobilizing capital from others, and delivering advisory and risk-management services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit