VF and IFC Distribute First Round of Financing to Bangladeshi Factories for Safety Improvements
Three factories receive loans through innovative program intended to promote worker safety
GREENSBORO, N.C. & WASHINGTON-- VF Corporation (NYSE:VFC) and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced they have provided loans to three Bangladeshi garment factories under a new program for funding fire and building safety improvements.
Through the financing arrangement, VF provides a full corporate guarantee for up to $10 million that the IFC and its partner BRAC Bank lend to VF’s contract suppliers. VF’s guarantee to back the loans makes it possible for IFC to lend at lower interest rates. This initiative helps VF suppliers in Bangladesh overcome financial obstacles to improving workplace safety conditions.
“Providing these loans to help supplier factories fund the necessary improvements is another positive step forward in VF’s efforts to ensure the safety of the people making our products in Bangladesh,” said Tom Glaser, VF’s President of Supply Chain.
The financing structure from VF and IFC helps enable factory owners meet the stringent standards set forth by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance), an industry group of international apparel manufacturers and buyers whose work includes the inspection of Bangladeshi garment factories and development of corrective action plans for meeting acceptable standards. VF is one of 26 Alliance members.
IFC disbursed an initial set of loan payments, totaling $1.3 million, to three factory owners: Arunima Sportswear Ltd.; Olio Apparels Ltd.; and, Radisson Apparel Ltd. These owners will use the capital to invest in safety upgrades such as the installation of fire sprinklers, fire doors and detection systems, along with other necessary repairs and safety precautions.
“The apparel industry has provided employment and reduced poverty for millions of people in Bangladesh. This financing model, which we think could work well for other buyers and suppliers, will help improve work conditions and facilitate growth and development,” said Sergio Pimenta, IFC Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services.
VF and IFC are granting loans to VF’s supplier factories in the range of $100,000 to $1 million. The lending program is part of VF’s efforts to help suppliers achieve performance standards for assessing and managing environmental and social risks and impacts, and labor and working conditions.
About VF Corp
VF Corporation (NYSE:VFC) is a global leader in the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories. The company’s highly diversified portfolio of 30 powerful brands spans numerous geographies, product categories, consumer demographics and sales channels, giving VF a unique industry position and the ability to create sustainable, long-term growth for customers and shareholders. The company’s largest brands are The North Face®, Vans®, Timberland®, Wrangler®, Lee® and Nautica®. For more information, visit www.vfc.com.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Source: VF Corporation