Global renewable energy developer, service provider and distributor, BayWa r.e., announced its collaboration with Swedish shoe manufacturer, outdoor footwear brand and sustainability pioneer, Icebug, for the Decarbonizing Apparel Manufacturing in Vietnam – On-Site Rooftop Solar Group Procurement programme. Initiated by the Clean Energy Investment Accelerator (CEIA), the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), and IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative, the pilot was first rolled out in 2021.
The huge success of the pilot has inspired BayWa r.e. and Icebug to lessons learned and scale the project even further to include more factories and partners, opening doors between the renewable energy sector and the apparel industry.
This collaboration, along with the potential participation of more partners, will realise the shared vision of both companies to accelerate the decarbonisation of brand supply chains and the manufacturing sector in Vietnam. The goal of achieving 100% renewable energy for production and operations through battery storage and on-site thermal operations will be the eventual target, allowing factories and partners to take one further step into sustainable, net-zero production without sacrificing production scale.
With roughly 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide released per year on footwear and apparel manufacturing alone, more than aviation and shipping industries combined, carbon emissions in Vietnam make up approximately 5% of all global carbon emissions according to World Economic Forum, which makes the programme a meaningful one to collaborate on for both Icebug and BayWa r.e.
Commenting on the programme, David Ekelund, CEO, of Icebug said “We are committed to reducing our climate footprint by 50% by 2030 and as such, cutting energy emissions is key. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort to find out how to make the switch to solar power in an effective way that also benefits the factory owners. Instead of keeping this invaluable information to ourselves, we have decided to share best practices and turn this into a programme – free for other brands to join. Together with BayWa r.e., we look forward to radically changing the footwear industry for the better.”
Icebug manufactures at three factories in Vietnam and the initial programme aims to reduce more than 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide across these factories, on a yearly basis. The amount of carbon reduction will rise even further, with more partners and factories on deck.
Companies and factories on board with this programme will not only reduce operational costs but also have the opportunity to gain energy independence.
“This partnership has opened up new opportunities for stakeholders in their carbon reduction projects. This enables stakeholders to reduce their carbon footprint quickly and easily without interrupting production,” said Bryse Gaboury, General Manager, BayWa r.e. Energy Solutions APAC.
The programme will be supported by brands like Icebug in collaboration with BayWa r.e. leveraging its expertise to rapidly deploy rooftop solar for Tier One factories in Vietnam.
The footwear and apparel industry is one of the world’s most energy-intensive sectors, yet also one that generates substantial revenue – it accounts for 16% of Vietnam’s GDP in 2021 as mentioned in an article by DFU Publications – it is more important now than ever that footwear and apparel-production companies in Vietnam come together, hand-in-hand, to race against the rising climate changes through sustainable, consistent actionable plans.