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Compliance, workers safety essential for sustainable apparel industry

  • Published at 10:00 pm November 5th, 2019
Compliance-DHAKA-TRIBUNE
Experts addresses a Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) seminar in the capital on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

Discussants say at Sustainable Apparel Forum seminar

Compliance and workers' safety should be the key focus for sustainable apparel industry, said apparel experts in the Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) seminar held on Tuesday in the capital. 

The apparel industry would be sustainable in the long run if compliance and safety components were improved, they added. The speakers sought social dialogues for establishing a sustainable apparel industry. 

Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) organized the 2nd Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF)-2019 seminar at a city hotel.  Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) was the co-organizer. 

Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor and BGMEA former president Md Atiqul Islam was the chief guest in the opening session of  the seminar.

Shahriar Alam, state minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Benoit Prefonatine, high commissioner of Canadian High Commission in Dhaka, and Pierre Borjesson, head of sustainability (Global Production) of H&M Group, spoke in the opening session. 

Atiqul Islam said that sustainability was a must to ensure workers’ safety, workers’ rights and their dignity. 

“We are very much committed to our workers’ safety issue, workers rights and dignity in the garment sector under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he added.

Atiqul Islam said that Bangladesh became the second largest apparel exporting country in the world. The vision of the government was to export $50 billion worth of apparel goods by 2021, he added.

“We cannot achieve this target if all stakeholders do not work together,” said  Atiqul Islam. 

State Minister Shahriar Alam said that fourth industrial revolution would  change the conventional work approach. He emphasized the sustainable apparel industry. 

Benoit Prefonatine said social dialogue was needed among all the stakeholders for fair prices of apparel items, efficient supply chain and better workplace environment.  

In the plenary session styled “Transparency: Emphasizing Globally Standardized Transparency Reporting”, Epyllion Group Managing Director Reaz Uddin Al Mamoon said: “Transparency is not the issue for one party case. Manufacturers, buyers and government should work jointly.”

He said that first of all, intension should be there to make the industry transparent. This was the way the sector could become sustainable, he added.

Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation president Nazma Akter said compared to other countries, Bangladesh textile industry was the best for female workers. BGMEA should focus on industrial relation and social dialogue, she added.

“We want a fare and transparent apparel industry,” she added. 

Other garment manufacturers said Bangladesh became the safer apparel industry in the world through transformation, inspection and remediation, which needed huge investment, they added.

More than 50 speakers from 20 countries in five panel discussions of the SAF shared their perspectives on issues covering sustainability such as human, transparency, water, purchasing practice and climate change.

“With the discussions of the SAF a sustainability roadmap is going to be formulated. The sustainability roadmap will provide clear guidelines to the industry to add pace to the sustainability movement. The progresses of the roadmap will also be followed up in next editions of the SAF," said Mostafiz Uddin, founder and CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE).