IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.), one of the world’s leading brand name apparel companies, signed a cooperation agreement that will help LS&Co. meet its corporate sustainability objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water use in its supply chain.
IFC will work with 42 designated LS&Co. suppliers and mills in 10 countries to identify and implement appropriate renewable energy and water-saving interventions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The work, which will take place in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Lesotho, Colombia, Turkey, Egypt, and Vietnam, will incorporate IFC’s Partnership for Cleaner Textiles approach for reducing resource consumption and wastewater pollution. IFC and LS&Co. are jointly contributing to the costs for implementing the agreement.
IFC will assess supplier and mill facilities to identify actions that can be taken to catalyse substantial environmental benefits — including reduced emissions, improved water efficiency and wider adoption of renewable energy supply options. As the largest global development institution, with deep sectoral and wide regional expertise, IFC is well placed to provide support to this important and necessary initiative.
“Levi’s strong commitment to sustainability makes it an ideal partner for IFC,” said Tomasz Telma, senior director of manufacturing, agribusiness and services at IFC. “This cooperation agreement shows how IFC can deliver advisory and investment products that help our partners strengthen the sustainability of their supply chains.”
The global textiles, apparel and footwear industry is a major driver of industrialization and economic growth in many countries, employing 60 million people, the majority of them women. But the industry also contributes as much as 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions and uses sizable amounts of water in the cotton farming and textile production phases.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the IFC to help achieve our science-based climate targets and benefit our vendors and their communities,” said Liz O’Neill, executive vice president, global product and supply chain, at LS&Co. “We hope this program can also benefit others in the apparel industry and help reduce our collective footprint.”
In 2017, IFC and LS&Co. launched a pilot cooperation agreement that helped six LS&Co. suppliers in four countries – Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam – cut their carbon footprint by 19% and reduce energy and water consumption, leading to significant savings in operating costs. IFC has also been working with LS&Co. to provide financial incentives for garment suppliers in developing countries to upgrade environmental, health and safety and labor performance through its Global Trade Supplier Finance program.