“There is a lack of transparency in all of the value chain, and of course this is because of competitiveness, so buyers do not want to share how much they pay and producers do not want to share how much they charge. That needs to be changed,” said Lilianne Ploumen, the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.
She laid emphasis on more dialogues so all can know where the profits are and how to make sure that profits are divided fairly for ensuring sustainable sourcing.
The minister was speaking at an inaugural function of the Sustainable Sourcing in the Garment Sector (SSGS) in Dhaka yesterday. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed was present as the chief guest.
“Firstly, more transparency in all of the value chain is needed that is promoted in the conference. There has to be more dialogue so that all of us know where the profits are and how to make sure that profits are divided fairly for ensuring sustainable sourcing,” Ploumen said.
“We have to make sure that workers are paid decent salaries and the benefits are not going to one part of stakeholders in a value chain.”
She said: “Since the Rana Plaza incident, lots of progress have been made, minimum wage has been raised, safety inspectors were appointed but the prices of products have not been increased yet, although a lot of investment was made by the factories’ owners.”
About challenges of the apparel industry, the Dutch minister said: “There are two challenges - making sure that investment is made on green technologies in factories and on workers’ salaries. The second challenge is making minimum wage a living wages.”
“All the stakeholders need to talk to each other for sustainability. This is a next step in improving sustainability and also the profitability of the garment sector,” Ploumen said.
Tofail Ahmed said the garment sector renovated safety standards in terms of structural, fire and electoral and the sector has made lots of investment in this regards, but the prices of products did not increase.
He said the situation in Bangladesh is “absolutely normal as the government has tackled militant activities efficiently.”
“The exports also remain unhurt and we’ve seen 19% export growth in August.”
The Dutch embassy in Dhaka in partnership with the International Apparel Federation and the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association organised the conference.