Apparel and footwear giant VF Corp. and mass-market retailer Target want to step up sustainability at their supplier factories in Vietnam.
The U.S.-based companies have partnered with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to conduct energy and water efficiency assessments at about 30 factories over the next 12 months, including cut-and-sew, dyeing-and-printing and garment-washing facilities.
The goal: to help them reduce operating costs and improve productivity while contributing to Vietnam’s green growth and climate change targets.
“With Vietnam’s increasing participation in trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the EU Free Trade Agreement, the local textile sector is poised for faster growth, creating increased demand for sustainable energy and water use practices,” Kyle Kelhofer, IFC country manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR, said in a statement released Tuesday. “Vietnam’s textile enterprises stand to benefit from this IFC program by further access to global markets while implementing resource efficiency best practices.”
In addition to providing advice for technical solutions, IFC vowed to help facilitate financing through its partner banks in Vietnam.
“The cooperation with IFC in Vietnam strongly complements Target’s global responsible sourcing strategy and our corporate sustainability goals for making supplier factories more resource efficient and environmentally friendly,” Ivanka Mamic, director for responsible sourcing at Target Sourcing Services, the subsidiary of Target that’s leading sustainability efforts for the corporation, said.
Brad van Voorhees, senior manager for supply chain sustainability at VF Asia, called the collaboration with IFC and Target “a natural extension” of the company’s work, noting that it would help facilitate “the collective exchange of knowledge and best practices to green the textile supply chain.”
Vietnam exported almost $40 billion worth of textiles, apparel and footwear in 2015, generating around three million jobs in the process. While the sector is energy and water intensive, the IFC said resource consumption can be reduced by at least 20 percent by using latest technology and good operating practices.
Subsequent steps of this sustainability initiative will evaluate opportunities where clean energy can be used to meet captive power needs of the textile supply chain.
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