17 Mar VF Corp. to Help Vietnamese Textile Sector Go Green
VF Corporation, which owns Eagle Creek, The North Face, Smartwool, Timberland, Vans and other outdoor and action sports brands, is partnering with the World Bank Group to help its supplier factories in Vietnam use water, energy and other resources more efficiently.
In the first phase of the program, energy and water efficiency assessments will be conducted at about 30 factories used by VF Corp. and Target Corp. over 12 months to help them reduce operating costs and improve productivity while contributing to the country’s green growth and climate change targets.
The textile, apparel and footwear sector is a significant contributor to Vietnam’s economy. In 2015, the sector’s exports reached $39.2 billion and generated approximately three million jobs, most of which are for women. While this sector is energy and water intensive, there are opportunities for reducing resource consumption by 20% or higher by using latest technology and good operating practices.
“With Vietnam’s increasing participation in trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the EU Free Trade Agreement, the local textile sector is poised for faster growth, creating increased demand for sustainable energy and water use practices,” said Kyle Kelhofer, Country Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR for IFC, a unit of the World Bank Group. “Vietnam’s textile enterprises stand to benefit from this IFC program by further access to global markets while implementing resource efficiency best practices.”
Factory assessments at VF and Target supplier factories across the textile value chain, including cut-and-sew, dyeing-and-printing and garment-washing operations, will identify and develop cost-effective measures to improve energy and water efficiency while helping suppliers improve productivity and competitiveness. In addition to providing advice for technical solutions, IFC will help facilitate financing through its partner banks in Vietnam, drawing on its substantial experience in other top textile export countries such as Bangladesh and China.
“The cooperation with IFC in Vietnam strongly complements Target’s global responsible sourcing strategy and our corporate sustainability goals for making supplier factories more resource efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Ivanka Mamic, Director for Responsible Sourcing at Target Sourcing Services, the subsidiary of Target Corporation leading sustainability efforts for the corporation.
“VF has a long history of manufacturing excellence centered on respect for the people and the environment, and we continuously explore opportunities to further scale these commitments across our global supplier base for greater impact,” said Brad van Voorhees, Senior Manager for Supply Chain Sustainability at VF Asia, a subsidiary of VF Corporation. “The collaboration with IFC and Target is a natural extension of our work and enables the collective exchange of knowledge and best practices to green the textile supply chain.”
This manufacturing sustainability initiative will promote resource efficiency by systematically assessing performance improvement opportunities, conducting benchmarking studies, sharing technology best practices, and raising sector-level awareness for broader uptake. Subsequent phases will evaluate opportunities for use of clean energy to meet captive power needs of the textile supply chain. This initiative is part of IFC’s multi-year Vietnam resource efficiency program that is implementing innovative aggregation approaches to scale-up impacts through engaging with leading global brands and their supply chains, and by intervening in selected industrial zones to promote circular economy concepts among co-located industries.