The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, has inked an agreement with Gap Inc. to bolster the resource efficiency of the retail group’s operations in Pakistan.
Under the first-of-its-kind agreement, the IFC’s Advisory Services will help Gap Inc.’s supplier factories in the country adopt efficiency measures to shrink the use of water, energy, chemicals and other resources. This will help Gap Inc.—which owns the Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta and Hill City brands—improve its “competitiveness and sustainability,” the IFC announced last week.
The agreement, it further noted, is part of the IFC’s wider efforts to promote resource efficiency in the private sector and, in so doing, provide savings for businesses, cultivate competitiveness globally and “significantly” reduce environmental impacts.
It’s also an extension of the IFC’s Program for Cleaner Textiles (PACT), which the finance group said was “successfully implemented” last year in Bangladesh’s textile industry, where it has helped curtail water consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions.
“Reducing the consumption of resources is key to improving efficiency and increasing productivity,” Nadeem Siddiqui, country manager for IFC Pakistan, said in a statement. “We hope to replicate PACT’s success in Pakistan and demonstrate the importance and benefits of such measures in helping to improve sustainability and mitigate climate change.”
Pakistan is the fourth-largest global producer of cotton, and almost 60 percent of its exports are related to textiles. Though textile revenues account for 9 percent of Pakistan’s gross domestic product, the industry consumes nearly 70 percent of the country’s industrial water, according to the IFC.
Implementing cleaner production practices, however, could whittle energy consumption in the sector by nearly 22 percent while enhancing productivity, the IFC added.
“Gap Inc. continues to invest in water, energy and resource-efficiency programs that improve environmental and business performance,” said Christina Nicholson, director of environmental impact, global sustainability at Gap Inc. “In partnership with IFC, this program will address key impact areas, improve performance and deliver on our environmental-impact reduction commitments.”