Collaborative Approach for Water & Energy Conservation: Clothing Industry of Bangladesh

Rejaul Hasan, Karen K. Leonas


The Bangladesh economy has largely benefited from the growth of the clothing and textile manufacturing sector, yet it faces considerable challenges in efficiently managing the natural resources required for textile wet processing, particularly water and energy. The complicated and heterogeneous structure of Small-Medium Enterprises (SME) textile processing factories are a barrier to the diffusion of industry-wide standards. This study demonstrates how an innovative and collaborative approach involving many stakeholders between the Responsible Sourcing Initiative (RSI) and Partnership for Cleaner Textile, (PaCT) has been developed to identify and address resource management challenges in the Bangladeshi clothing industry. Stakeholders included in this collaborative initiative are the Bangladeshi government, the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the private sector stakeholders including global clothing brands and textile manufacturing facilities. The study also highlights the success of the PaCT program in ten different textile processing factories around Dhaka, Bangladesh in reduction of cost, natural resource use, and pollution generation (GHG, wastewater effluent). The initiative is well recognized and highly valued throughout the industry and has shown potential in water and energy conservation in industry processing. If the low-cost resource savings recommendations are implemented in 50 percent of the textile processing units in Bangladesh, the estimated annual savings would be 75 million USD; 63 billion liters of water; 650 million cubic meters of gas and 300 gigawatt-hours of electricity. Additionally, a significant reduction in wastewater and greenhouse gas (GHG) generation would be observed in textile and apparel wet processing facilities.

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