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IFC Program Boosts Resource Efficiency Efforts in Vietnam

Vietnam is improving its garment sector with more sustainable foundations.

At a Hoh Chi Minh City conference on Wednesday, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank Group member, announced progress on its Vietnam Improvement Program (VIP), an initiative which helps local garment suppliers, including the Target Corporation and VF Corporation, reduce operating costs and improve their resource efficiency, the Vietnam Economic Times reported.

Over the past 18 months, 28 Target and VF suppliers with garment-washing, dyeing-and-printing and cut-and-sew operations jointly invested $9.9 million in resource efficiency efforts. These sustainable measures in return helped them conserve $15 million in chemical operating, energy and water costs in their factories. Select suppliers achieved average resource savings of over 20 percent, while some saw double that savings.

“The energy-efficiency savings achieved at VF’s suppliers participating in the VIP help validate the merits of our supplier improvement program and help pave the way for additional scaling of our efforts,” VF Corporation senior manager of environmental practices and sustainable operations Brad van Voorhees said. “We have been on this journey with our suppliers for nearly four years and we appreciate their commitment to strong collaboration and meaningful progress.”

The project, which has required a $26 million capital investment for more efficient production equipment and upgrades, is expected to be fully implement by 2019. These improvements could collectively save 562,000 tons of greenhouse gases and 2.8 million cubic meters of water on a yearly basis, with additional environmental benefits.

Today, Vietnam’s apparel sector is a major economic driver and generates $27 billion in exports each year. With the program, IFC aims to work with other leading global brands in the country to promote more sustainable manufacturing in the future.