Levi Strauss & Co. has joined with the International Finance Corp. to develop a global program aimed at ensuring environmental sustainability.
The initiative will be built on the experience of IFC’s Bangladesh Partnership for Cleaner Textile program focusing on offering advice on how to organize cleaner production practices in more than 165 textile factories in Bangladesh.
This will be the first time that the IFC PaCT program will be implemented outside of Bangladesh. Initially, a pilot is planned in six facilities in four countries — Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
“We are pleased to be the first IFC partner to pilot its PaCT program in additional countries,” said Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability at Levi Strauss. “Our goal is to scale the practices globally to achieve greater reductions in water, energy and chemical use across our supply chain.”
The global textile sector faces critical environmental challenges associated with water, energy and chemical uses that leave a large footprint in the world’s ecosystem, the companies noted. The implementation of cleaner production measures can reduce the use of natural resources, mitigate threats to humans and the environment and promote greater overall efficiency through improved production practices.
Simple and low-cost measures could reduce water use by up to 20 percent in the factories and lead to savings in future infrastructure and operational expenditure, they said.
Mohan Seneviratne, IFC program manager for PaCT, said, “The global textiles sector makes strong contributions to the economies of several countries, creates jobs, especially for women and has pioneered implementing climate-friendly environmental sustainable practices. 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.”
PaCT aims to help Levi’s reach this goal through Cleaner Production Assessments and PaCT Advantage, a web-based diagnostic process to develop a roadmap for continuous improvement by suppliers. The results of the PaCT Advantage diagnostics can then be benchmarked across sites and countries.
In March, Levi’s made its innovative Water<Less finishing techniques publicly available to spur water conservation across the apparel industry. The techniques reduce water use in garment finishing by up to 96 percent and have helped the company save more than 1 billion liters of water since 2011.
A member of the World Bank Group, IFC promotes sustainable growth and private sector development in Bangladesh by investing in critical infrastructure, boosting financial inclusion, enhancing textile competitiveness and supporting reforms to make doing business easier for the private sector.
IFC committed $635 million in Bangladesh, in owned and mobilized funds across 13 projects, for the fiscal year ended June 30. IFC’s committed portfolio in Bangladesh was about $1 billion in 47 projects.