Press Releases

IFC Encourages Environmental and Social Compliance in the Ready-made Garments Sector

In Dhaka
Shazia Ahmed
Phone: + (88) 337-5266 ext 145

Dhaka, Bangladesh, March 22, 2007 – IFC Advisory Services for South Asia – the SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility – signed an agreement today to provide assistance to the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies to make their compliance programs more readily available in the market. These services will help garment factories in Bangladesh assess their social and environmental standards and implement changes to improve their conditions.  

The garments sector accounts for 75 percent of Bangladesh’s export revenue and provides employment to over 2.2 million workers, 80 percent of whom are women, making this one of the most important sectors in the country. Compliance with global environmental and social standards is a critical issue if Bangladesh’s garments industry is to remain competitive in the global market.  “However, there is a dearth of institutions or consulting firms who can provide quality assistance to Bangladeshi factories that aspire to improve their environmental and social practices,” asserts Dr. Atiq Rahman, Executive Director of Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies.  “With support from IFC-SEDF, we hope to develop a business model that allows us to offer our services on a larger scale, on a commercial basis, so we may do our part in contributing to the improvement of factory conditions in Bangladesh.”

“This collaboration with the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies ties in with our overall strategy in the garments sector: to build the capacity of local service providers, so that factories have access to sustainable, high-quality services that address social and environmental compliance issues,” explained Deepak Adhikary, Deputy General Manager, IFC-SEDF.

The Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies is an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental policy research and implementation institute that relies on donor funding.  To increase the center’s market outreach and sustainability, IFC-SEDF is helping it transform into a commercially viable consulting firm. The first stage of this project involves assessing the center’s organizational capacity and then designing an action plan to address the organizational needs, legal requirements, and institutional capacity building that are identified. The second stage, implementation, will begin in three months.
About IFC
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit

The IFC SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility is a multidonor funded facility, managed and operated by IFC. It is one of 11 regional programs managed by IFC worldwide. IFC-SEDF is funded by IFC, the governments of the Netherlands and Norway, the European Commission, DFID (United Kingdom), CIDA (Canada), and the Asian Development Bank. Set up promote the growth of SMEs in the region, it facilitates increased access to finance and provides quality business development services to projects in Bangladesh, Bhutan, northeast India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. IFC-SEDF also works to create a business-enabling environment that is supportive of SMEs and assists in the value addition to firms through sector development, organization-specific advisory services, capacity building programs, training, and research. The ultimate goal is to assist in private sector development to create market opportunities for SMEs and promote economic growth in the region.