An EU-funded initiative aimed at promoting ‘Made in Myanmar’ apparel has inked a deal to help garment factories in the country access finance to enable environmentally sustainable and energy-saving improvements.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Smart Myanmar — a project aimed at working on green initiatives with Myanmar’s garment manufacturers  — and financial corporation Aya Bank, aims to jointly identify and pilot bankable green projects within 2019, to inspire and guide more substantial green lending programmes in the future.

According to Smart Myanmar, the country’s garment industry has been growing at an annual rate of over 25% year-on-year since 2012. However, the environmental impact of such rapid industrial growth has also increased. Activities such as acid washing, digital printing, laser etching, and in general a substantially increased carbon footprint from industrial growth require best practice solutions for improved production efficiency, energy, water and waste management.

“We must support a green and verdant environment with our business activities. Green finance is a new focus for us and one in which we are excited to work,” says U Myint Zaw, managing director at Aya Bank.

“Smart Myanmar’s collaboration with Aya Bank on green banking is a big opportunity to boost access to finance for green projects of small and medium enterprises in the garment and other industry sectors that are blazing the trail toward sustainable business,” adds Octavio  Peralta, secretary general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific.

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