'In retaining the global apparel buyers' attention, sustainable manufacturing technique is the key for Bangladeshi apparel makers for a better future,' Mostafiz Uddin, managing director of Denim Expert Limited told Dhaka Tribune's Ibrahim Hossain Ovi in an interview
Second Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) will be held on November 5 in Dhaka. What is the purpose of this forum?
The SAF aims to promote Bangladesh as a responsible sourcing destination on the global map by accelerating the momentum of sustainability within the apparel industry. The aim of the SAF is to facilitate a meaningful exchange of knowledge to demystify issues surrounding sustainability.
In this edition, SAF is bringing together senior policydenio making level people from all key stakeholders of Bangladesh apparel industry under one roof for ensuring the sustainability through policy and leadership.
Why is sustainability important for Bangladesh apparel sector?
Firstly, global apparel brands are increasingly demanding that their suppliers use sustainable production techniques, which require less water and chemicals, and thus produce less waste.
If our factories fail to make adaptation in these areas, they will miss out on business in the global market, it is that simple.
But there is another, much more important reason. Sustainability is vital for the future of the planet. If we do not address climate change as a matter of urgency, there will be no Bangladesh apparel sector for long– that is the stark choice we face.
So business owners really have no choice on this issue – it’s a case of evolving or facing extinction.
How can Bangladesh ensure sustainability in apparel sector?
They can look at ways to use less water, and implement simple water-saving or harvesting techniques.
In addition, they can think more carefully about their use of electricity, and such measures can be enabled via staff training to make sure each member of the team is singing from the same hymn sheet. This is all about good housekeeping –not rocket science.
There are all manner of techniques, and technologies to help businesses reduce their use of harmful chemicals, reduce the pollutants they emit.
What should be the buyers’ role in sustainability?
I would say, to be more understanding and supportive of their suppliers, where possible. I would stress the importance of a collaborative buyer-supplier relationship more than ever, despite having debates about price.
That is business, but is there enough room left within this price, to ensure that garments are being produced in a sustainable manner? This is the question we all need to be looking at. If that means more open, and transparent costing along the supply chain, this is something we must move towards.
What is the difference between sustainability, and environment friendly?
Environment friendly is one aspect of sustainability, and it refers to the impact of our business activities on the physical environment. Sustainability covers a broader spectrum of people, planet, and profit.
There is a mistaken notion that sustainability only means environment friendly practices. But sustainability also includes issues such as the well-being of the human resources involved in the industry, and working condition as well.
What is the challenge for the denim Industry?
The denim industry uses a disproportionate amount of resources to manufacture denim, and this is right along the supply chain – from cotton growing to denim production and processing and dyeing. Resolving the issue is a big challenge.
Tell us about Denim Expo.
The 11th edition of Bangladesh Denim Expo will be held on November 5 and 6. This edition will focus on ‘Responsibility’, to enable Bangladesh as a responsible sourcing destination on the global map by accelerating the momentum of sustainability.
We all have our own part to play to make this a more sustainable industry – from denim manufacturers, to producers of dyes and chemicals for the denim industry right through to the farmers that produce the cotton raw materials for our products.