Footwear company VF Corporation and retailer Target are collaborating with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in a drive to improve resource efficiency at their supplier factories in Vietnam.
Under the first phase of the programme, energy and water efficiency assessments will be conducted at around 30 factories over the next year. The aim is to help reduce operating costs and improve productivity while contributing to the country’s green growth and climate change targets.
IFC, part of the World Bank Group, said the textile, apparel and footwear sector was a significant contributor to Vietnam’s economy. Exports were $39.2bn (£27bn) last year with the sector generating around three million jobs, mostly for women.
The sector is energy and water intensive but there are opportunities for reducing resource consumption by 20% by using latest technology and good operating practices, IFC said.
Factory assessments at VF, the owner of the Van's shoe brand, and Target supplier factories will cross the textile value chain, including cut-and-sew, dyeing-and-printing and garment-washing operations. They aim to identify cost-effective measures to improve energy and water efficiency while helping suppliers improve productivity and competitiveness.
IFC will help facilitate financing through its partner banks in Vietnam as well as providing advice for technical solutions.
Kyle Kelhofer, IFC country manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, said that with Vietnam’s increasing participation in trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the EU Free Trade Agreement, the local textile sector was poised for faster growth, creating increased demand for sustainable energy and water use practices.
“Vietnam’s textile enterprises stand to benefit from this IFC programme by further access to global markets while implementing resource efficiency best practices,” said Kelhofer.
IFC said that as well as assessing opportunities for efficiency improvement, the initiative would share technology best practices, and help raising sector-level awareness.
Further phases of the initiative will evaluate opportunities for use of clean energy to meet the captive power needs of the textile supply chain.