The platform brings together buyers, wet processing mills, government and local communities

The platform brings together buyers, wet processing mills, government and local communities

The Bangladesh Water PaCT (Partnership for Cleaner Textile) initiative has been extended for a further year to help it meet its goals of reducing environmental and related social impacts of textile wet processing. 

The PaCT programme, which launched in 2013, will now run through to 30 June 2017, with 11 major brands on board including Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), Gap Inc, Inditex, Kappahl, Tesco, Primark and G-Star. 

Bangladesh has the world's second largest textile industry, and the platform brings together buyers, wet processing mills (washing, dyeing and finishing units), in addition to government and local communities, to try to reduce environmental and related social impacts such as excessive groundwater extraction, surface water pollution and chemical and energy use.

Led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and in partnership with NGO Solidaridad and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, to date, PaCT has so far partnered with 200 textile units to help them implement sustainable, resource-efficient projects. These have realised cumulative cost savings of US$7.7m per year for the factories.

Savings have also included around 14bn litres of water a year, the avoidance of 10.6bn litres of wastewater discharge annually, and energy savings of around 1.1m mwh per year.

"PaCT is unique since it operates beyond the factory gates in market transformation in financing, setting up a knowledge centre and a national dialogue," Mohan Seneviratne, programme manager for PaCT, tells just-style, adding: "The extension provides us an opportunity to meet our targets, especially for the 200 companies to carry out assessments."

Last month, PaCT officially launched the Textile Sustainability Platform (TSP) in Dhaka. This aims to establish dialogue between public and private institutions by encouraging textile and apparel stakeholders to work collectively towards lowering sectoral barriers and improving policy and regulatory framework.

It operates through Working Groups (WGs) that focus on policy and regulations, voluntary actions by industry, and access to finance. Members include textile factories, leading global brands, industry associations such as the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), BKMEA, civil society, and government agencies. 

To date, the TSP has proposed several recommendations to the relevant government authorities.

"That the government has developed a US$200m worth Green Transformation Fund (GTF), lowered customs duty on a number of eco-friendly goods, and raised taxes on three hazardous chemicals (azo dyes, organotin compounds, and chlorophenols) are promising moves from their part in encouraging the use of environment-friendly goods and in recognising the role of the TSP in promoting sustainable practices in the textile sector," says Seneviratne.

Faruque Hassan, senior vice president of the BGMEA, adds: "BGMEA has always been an active partner of Bangladesh PaCT. Through the Textile Sustainability Platform, together we can address the issues pertaining to the textile wet processing sector, and support the industry as a whole to develop policies that are sustainable, eco-friendly, and cost effective."