The Green Textile City Initiative, under IFC’s China Water Programme, provided sector-level capacity building and technical training for over 100 textile mills in the three textile cities, while half of the trained mills implemented resource efficiency projects on their own.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently presented results of their joint Green Textile City Initiative which was launched with leading global apparel retailers and fashion brands in 2013 with the aim of scaling up sustainability efforts in large textile clusters in Shaoxing and Guangzhou. The initiative was expanded to Suzhou in 2015.

A group of Chinese textiles mills last year made millions of dollars’ worth of savings by implementing simple measures aimed at driving sustainability. In the Greater Suzhou Area, 23 textile mills implemented 138 factory projects, saving $8.4 mn in water, energy, and chemical operating costs. The projects had an average payback of just 17 months and collectively saved 4 mn cubic mtr of water and 30,000 tonne of coal (or its energy equivalent).

The latest results from the Suzhou programme further demonstrate that the Clean by Design best practices can drive significant environmental improvement and cost savings for apparel and textile supply chains, said Kurt Kipka, NRDC Senior Project Manager.

This joint initiative with NRDC is a good example of how they can leverage partnerships and expertise of multiple stakeholders to scale up resource efficiency in manufacturing supply chains, said Navneet Chadha, IFC resource efficiency lead for East Asia and Pacific. A sustainable textile industry will benefit the private sector while supporting a better environment in China.