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A Thread of Change: EU-funded Switch Garment weaves a sustainable future for the Cambodian garment industry

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A Thread of Change: EU-funded Switch Garment weaves a sustainable future for the Cambodian garment industry
Country: Cambodia
Press Release

Phnom Penh, 10 May 2024 After four years of dedicated work promoting sustainable energy practices in the Cambodian garment sector, the EU-Switch Garment project, funded by the European Union SWITCH-Asia Grants Programme and jointly implemented by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), Textile, Apparel, Footwear & Travel Goods Association in Cambodia (TAFTAC), and Geres in partnership with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology & Innovation (MISTI), wrapped up its journey at the Closure Event at Oakwood Premier Phnom Penh Hotel. The event was attended by over 100 participants and featured the project's detailed achievements, and networking opportunities to discuss the future of sustainable garment production in Cambodia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EU-Switch Garment aimed to improve the environmental sustainability of the garment industries in Cambodia by offering technical assistance in the form of energy audits, capacity building, technical guidelines, and improved financing access. Importantly, the Model Green Factory Program, a voluntary tool to become a greener factory, was developed, acknowledged by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology & Innovation (MISTI) and adopted by the Textile, Apparel, Footwear & Travel Goods Association in Cambodia (TAFTAC) for implementation. This essential tool aims to support the participating factories in reviewing their energy consumption profile, enhancing capacity, and encouraging sustainable energy implementation. The project has also contributed to bringing sector stakeholders together to enhance better access to finance.

H. E. Dr. Eang Sophalleth, Minister of Environment, in his opening remarks, said, the successful completion of Switch Garment signifies a turning point for Cambodia's garment industry. Working alongside the EU and thanks to the commitment of project partners and industry leaders, we've seen a significant move towards sustainable energy practices by the industry and the garment factories.  This not only benefits the environment by reducing our carbon footprint, but also ensures the long-term success of our crucial garment sector. The knowledge and skills acquired through this project will undoubtedly have a lasting impact, extending far beyond Cambodia.

H.E. Dr. Tung Ciny, Secretary of State, MISTI, mentioned "MISTI as a national entity would always be there for any support when it comes to making the Cambodian industries greener. We will join forces with the factories, service providers, the financial institutions as well as the project implementing partners to implement sustainable energy initiatives in the ground in the factories."

H. E. Igor Driesmans, Ambassador of the European Union to the Kingdom of Cambodia, emphasised, as a leading market for Cambodia’s garment and textile products, the EU is committed to supporting green transformation of the industry to contribute to green growth and decent jobs in Cambodia. Through a Team Europe approach, the EU and Member States promote this green transition of the industrial sector by enhancing energy efficiency and circular economy approaches in the sector, strengthening technical education and skills, improving working conditions and increasing sustainable investment and access to regional and international export markets. Switch Garment is a key part of this Team Europe initiative, which has benefited from good partnership with the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, and our implementing partners. We are pleased with the result of this partnership, which has been instrumental in promoting uptake of sustainable energy practices in at least 50 garment factories, resulting in private investment of 2.6 million into renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, while lowering energy cost and carbon footprint, and increasing therefore industry competitiveness. This aligns perfectly with our 'Global Gateway' strategy to foster resilient and sustainable value chains around the world.

TAFTAC, a co-implementing partner representing garment factories, recognizes a key opportunity for Cambodia's garment industry. While the sector faces challenges like high energy costs and infrastructure limitations, TAFTAC acknowledges that sustainability can be the key to unlocking its true potential. Mr. Choon Yik Thong, Head of Sub-Com on Sustainability, TAFTAC, elaborated: "By embracing energy-efficient practices, garment factories can achieve a double benefit. They can not only reduce their environmental footprint but also cut production costs. This win-win situation creates a greener, more sustainable industry, and positions Cambodia as a competitive leader in the regional market."

Quentin Moreau, Geres Regional Director, said, “beyond the tangible benefits of reduced environmental impact and lowered production costs, the EU Switch Garment project has instilled a sense of ownership and responsibility among stakeholders, ensuring a continued commitment to sustainable practices beyond the conclusion of the project’’.

Ms. Helena McLeod, Deputy Director-General of Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the consortium's project lead said, “The completion of EU Switch Garment marks a significant footstep of the journey towards a sustainable garment industry of Cambodia. We are committed to build on this success and support Cambodia's journey in greening the garment industry and in scaling up the activities to other sector."

Launched in 2020,the EU-Switch Garment promotes competitiveness of Cambodian garment industry and decreases the industry’s environmental impact through adoption of sustainable energy practices and facilitating investments in clean energy technology. The project has mobilized USD 2.6 million of investment from the factories for implementing of sustainable energy implementation, conducted 50 energy audits, helped 22 member factories to go green by implementing sustainable energy interventions, established three short-term courses (which are now adopted by the Cambodian Garment Training Institute), and trained over 200 factory employees on energy efficiency technology and operation.

Contact:

For more information on the Switch Garment Project and resources, visit the TAFTAC website or the EU SWITCH-Asia Switch Garment website page.

  • Mr. Md. Mahfuzur Rahman, EU-Switch Garment Project, Project Manager, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), [email protected]
  • Mr. Hun Keoveasna, EU-Switch Garment Project, Communication Officer, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), +855 17 810 802, [email protected]