The International Finance Corporation (IFC) led initiative including adoption of low-cost and cleaner production processes and installation of new technologies are facilitating the country’s textile and garment factories by cutting water and energy consumption.
The Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action has identified ways for the textile, clothing and fashion industry to move towards a holistic commitment to climate action.
Many garment and textile industries have adopted the solutions of the Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) where sustainability in the supply chain of garments is a major concern for Bangladesh.
For instance, local fabrics makers used to consume 250 litres to 300 litres of water to wash one kg of fabrics previously.
Due to the overuse of groundwater by washing, dyeing, spinning and garment factories, the water level has fallen by three metres every year in Dhaka and its adjacent areas.
In addition, the PaCT is a flagship programme of the private sector lending wing of the World Bank Group, launched in 2013.
The facilitation supports the entire textile value chain – spinning, weaving, wet processing and garment factories.
The PaCT is the first programme ever to incorporate cutting-edge innovations to address the environmental and sustainability challenges related to the textile sector.
These range from low-cost or no-cost changes in management and housekeeping practices to process modifications to larger investments such as new equipment.
According to the data from the PaCT, some 338 washing, dyeing, spinning, weaving, and garment factories are saving 28.7 billion litres of water by the process.
At the same time, the factories are saving 2.9 million megawatt-hours (MGh) of electricity annually and avoiding 558,391 tonnes of carbon emission.
Wastewater discharge has been decreased by the mills and factories by 24.1 billion litres, under the PaCT-2 programme. Participating mills and factories invested $44 million for the purpose.
Investment of a single US dollar can cut the consumption of 26 cubic metres of water, avoid 0.2 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, save two MWhs power, and reduce wastewater discharge by 23 cubic metres a year with the adoption of technologies, said the PaCT.
Mohammed Al Tauhidul Islam, assistant general manager of the sustainability department of Envoy Textile Ltd said, “We are using technologies to save energy in collaboration with our retailers and brands and PaCT experts. We are saving a substantial amount of energy and water.”
The textile giant used 60.47 litres of water to produce one kilogram of denim fabrics in 2016. The water use has gone down to 44.9 litres with the PaCT’s full-water metering technology.
It has cut water consumption for processing fabrics. It can process one kg denim fabrics using 55.63 litres of water, which was 85.76 litres earlier.
Envoy Textile has so far cut water consumption by 25.7 per cent, and the rate will go up by the end of the year, Islam said.
Apart from the sector’s participation in the initiatives regarding climate change and circularity, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has also taken a pledge to sustainability, said Rubana Huq, the immediate past president of the association.
In collaboration with the UNDP and the Global Reporting Initiative, a survey to develop a report highlighting the impact of ready-made garment factories on the Sustainable Development Goals was conducted.
The BGMEA has joined the UN Climate Change and the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action with an ambition to reduce GHG emission by 30 per cent by 2030, said Rubana Huq, the immediate past president of the BGMEA.
“We’re also committed to the Green Button Initiative of the German government,” Huq added.