IFC Helps Bangladesh's Textiles Sector Overcome Water Challenges

http://ifcnet.ifc.org/intranet/news_events.nsf/650f3eec0dfb990fca25692100069854/8da34056e4a0722d85257ac500670da7/WebPageBody/0.8A?OpenElement&FieldElemFormat=jpgNovember 29, 2012 -- IFC’s innovative $10 million water PaCT, a Partnership for Cleaner Textile, is paving the way to reduce water usage and pollution in Bangladesh’s textile sector.

Combining strengths of internal units and business lines, the program leverages complementary expertise of IFC staff across Sustainable Business Advisory (SBA), Investment Climate (IC), Access to Finance (A2F), Manufacturing‚ Agribusiness and Services (MAS) and Financial Markets (FM) to catalyze good practices, technologies, sustainable finance, market information, and business incentives for 200 participating factories.

“The program establishes linkages with key stakeholders and sectoral actors, including buyers, industry associations, donor agencies, government, local communities, and banks, to offer a comprehensive solution to the sector’s water availability and quality issues, the country’s second most polluting industry,” says Bastiaan Mohrmann, Head for Water Programs in South Asia.

The resulting partnership will build local capacity, facilitate public-private dialogues, and transform the textile industry into an environmentally sustainable, efficient and inclusive sector through investments in water technologies.

The textile sector ranks as one of the key sectors for Bangladesh contributing nearly 79 percent of export earnings and employing 3.6 million people, of which 85 percent are women. Nonetheless, with over 1,700 washing, dyeing, and finishing (WDF) units consuming 1,500 billion liters of groundwater annually and discharging waste-water, the sector impacts the lives of more than 12 million of Dhaka’s inhabitants through seasonal water shortages.

To reverse the alarming trend of groundwater depletion of 1-2 meters every year, the program adopts a comprehensive approach for developing clean clusters in Bangladesh by

  • working with 15 global apparel brands on sustainable procurement
  • promoting cleaner production practices and water technology investments for participating textile wet processing factories
  • sharing knowledge, expertise, and experience on resource efficiency through a Textile Technology Business Center established in collaboration with the leading industry associate Bangladesh Garment
  • Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)
  • building a textile technology sustainability platform for awareness building and experience-sharing

"By benefiting the communities and workers living in or near the textile clusters, PaCT is well-aligned with the priorities of the Dutch Government that include water as strategic sector and social impact as overarching goal," said Carel de Groot, First Secretary, Water Sector, of the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Dhaka.

"The Dutch embassy is pleased to be associated with this Partnership and looks forward to contributing to its collaborative and inclusive approach, the linkages with public-private stakeholders, civil society, donor community, and the promotion of global best practice technology solutions on a business-to-business basis."

The embassy is expected to contribute $5.6 million to the program.