The International Finance Corp. — a division of the World Bank — has teamed up with US apparel firm Gap Inc. to improve resource efficiency in the company’s Pakistan operations.

The agreement — the first of its kind in Pakistan’s textile industry —will assess the use of resources at Gap Inc’s supplier factories in the country and help them implement efficiency measures to lower the use of water, energy, chemicals and other resources. This will also help Gap Inc. improve competitiveness and sustainability. 

Gap Inc. owns the brands Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, Intermix and new sustainable menswear brand Hill City.

The agreement is part of IFC’s global efforts to promote resource efficiency measures in the private sector, which provides savings for companies, improves competitiveness globally, and significantly reduces environmental impacts. 

Christina Nicholson, director of environmental impact, global sustainability at Gap Inc. says: “Gap Inc. continues to invest in water, energy and resource efficiency programs that improve environmental and business performance. In partnership with IFC, this program will address key impact areas, improve performance and deliver on our environmental impact reduction commitments.”

According to the IFC, Pakistan is the fourth largest global producer of cotton, with nearly 60% of its exports textile related. Textile revenues account for 9% of Pakistan’s GDP, but the industry also consumes almost 70% of the country’s industrial water. A recent IFC study found Pakistan’s textiles sector could save nearly 22% of its energy consumption and boost productivity by implementing cleaner production practices. 

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The Pakistan agreement draws on knowledge and best practice from IFC’s Program for Cleaner Textiles (PaCT) implemented in Bangladesh’s textile sector in 2017.

“Reducing the consumption of resources is key to improving efficiency and increasing productivity,” says Nadeem Siddiqui, country manager, IFC Pakistan. “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.”