'Sustainability is not an option but a must for Bangladesh apparel industry. So, the SAF aims to add pace to the sustainability momentum and drive discussions to that end'
Foreign diplomats, apparel makers and buyers' representative have emphasized the need for true sustainability in the garment sector and compliant value chain in Bangladesh for fuelling economic growth, job creation and social progress for women and men.
They came up with the call at a press conference on the occasion of the 2nd edition of Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) to be held on November 5 at International Convention Centre, Bashundhara in Dhaka.
With the objective of accelerating the momentum of sustainability in Bangladesh apparel industry, Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) along with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) will hold the program.
“A sustainable garment sector in Bangladesh is a real possibility. Let’s hope that in the coming years the eyes of the world will still be on Bangladesh, looking at a truly sustainable, compliant value chain that continues to fuel economic growth, jobs creation and social progress for women and men alike,” said Harry Verweij, ambassador of the Netherlands in Bangladesh.
Nobody would buy products made by children or that seriously harming the environment, he stated, adding that people expected products to be responsibly sourced and they had a right to fair products, produced without human rights violations and environmental damage.
It was high time therefore for the fashion industry to not only commit but also demonstrate its determination and ability to make the supply chain sustainable, for example by reducing carbon emissions, raising public awareness about climate change and minimizing environmental impacts, the envoy added.
“Sustainability is not an option but a must for Bangladesh apparel industry. So, the SAF aims to add pace to the sustainability momentum and drive discussions to that end,” said BAE founder CEO Mostafiz Uddin.
“The world is moving forward and there is literally no way of regressing any more. Everyone talks about sustainable fabrics, practices and process. So, we have no way to run away from it, rather run to it,” BGMEA President Rubana Huq stressed.
"For me sustainability is not only environment, it is very much about sustainable factories, labour practice and of course sustaining and subscribing sustainable environment prices," she added.
In the forum, a total of five panel discussions on issues currently critical to the country’s apparel industry such as on human, transparency, water, purchasing practice and climate change will be held at the SAF where about 50+ speakers from home and abroad will share their expert opinions.
The Netherlands Embassy is the title sponsor while H&M, Better Work Bangladesh and C&A Foundation are Partners in the event.
"The global apparel consumption will increase by 65% by 2030, while world population is set to grow by 16% . So, Bangladesh’s RMG business has a very big potential," said Ziaur Rahman, H&M country manager for Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ethiopia.
“It provides a big business opportunity for Bangladesh,” said Rahman, adding, "Sustainability is very important and as a brand, our vision is to circular sustainability in the fashion industry."