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WWF teams up with Vietnam’s textile and apparel sector for sustainability project

By Marjorie van Elven

4 Dec 2018

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has announced a partnership with the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) to make the sector more environmentally friendly through improving water management and energy sustainability.

“Vietnam ranks as the fifth largest exporter of apparel goods in the world, but our industry is more famous for low cost production with limited environmental standards”, said Vu Duc Giang, Chairman of Vitas, in a statement. “With customers worldwide now more conscious about the environment, this is forcing a lot of global brands to change their operations to include higher environmental and social standards. If we do not change our practice now, Vietnam could lose its competitiveness”.

According to WWF, the textile and apparel industry is one of the most important sectors in Vietnam’s economy. It employs about 3 million people and contributes 15 percent of total export value. The sector has also had an annual growth rate of 12 percent between 2010 and 2017. However, the more Vietnam’s textile and apparel industry expands, the more impact it has on the environment. “With more than 10 years of working with the textile industries of top exporting countries as Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan, WWF believes that we can help Vietnam to create a big positive change for the sector”, said program adviser Marc Goichot.

To be implemented between 2018 and 2020, the project aims to encourage local companies based on the Mekong and Dong Nai deltas, where more than half of the country’s apparel factories are located, to practice sustainable energy planning and be more active river stewards.