IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and VF Corp., a branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories company, are working together to enhance the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of the textile wet processing sector in Bangladesh by reducing excessive groundwater extraction and surface water pollution, energy and chemical use.

The project will be carried out by IFC’s Bangladesh Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PACT) program. VF Corp. joins 12 other brands in the PACT family, bringing the total partner brands to 13.

The program has contributed to water and energy savings of 14.4 billion liters and 1.23 million megawatt hours per year, respectively, reduced GHG emission by 188,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent per year and resource saving worth $10 million annually in 162 partner factories. In addition to the PACT project, VF Corp. is also partnering with IFC in the Vietnam Improvement Project (VIP).

“Resource efficiency is a core facet of VF’s Responsible Sourcing program. Through investments and continuous support from VF, we aim to assist our strategic suppliers in reducing their water, energy, waste, and chemical use, while simultaneously reducing the cost of production,” said Brad van Voorhees, senior manager of environmental practices and sustainable operations at VF Corp.

Mohan Seneviratne, IFC program manager for PACT, said, “Water is a key input in the textile sector and large quantities are consumed in the direct operations and supply chain. Current groundwater abstraction rates in Bangladesh are close to their limit and growth projection of $50 Billion by 2021 can only be achieved with the development of sustainable water supplies, effluent treatment facilities and resource efficient practices. We welcome VF Corp. joining PACT to partner with us in this mission”

In Bangladesh, IFC is providing both investment and advisory support and working along with other stakeholders to help the garments sector become globally competitive and safe for its employees.

As part of this engagement, PACT will engage with VF Corp.’s supplier factories in three ways: awareness building, basic cleaner production (CP) assessment and in-depth CP assessment. Major activities will include factory-level advice on basic CP measures, technical assessment of resource efficient textile processing, facilitating implementation through user groups, strengthening corporate water and energy management systems, and investment facilitation in technologies with significant water sustainability benefits.

IFC promotes sustainable growth and private sector development in Bangladesh by investing in critical infrastructure, boosting financial inclusion, enhancing textiles competitiveness and supporting reforms to make doing business easier for private sector. IFC committed $635 million in Bangladesh, in own and mobilized funds across 13 projects, for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016. IFC’s committed portfolio in Bangladesh as of that date was about $1 billion in 47 projects.