Bangladeshi apparel manufacturers urged international brands to come forward on the issue of ethical pricing.
They also requested the British and other international brands and retailers to strengthen their partnership with the suppliers to enhance the capacity of Bangladeshi suppliers in the production of high-end products.
Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) was speaking at a press conference in the capital on Saturday, on their recent participation in COP26 and visits to England, Scotland, and Belgium.
They have also participated in the “Bangladesh Investment Summit-2021” organized by the Bangladesh Security and Exchange Commission, the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority and the Bangladesh High Commission in the United Kingdom.
“We have highlighted the position and potential of Bangladesh in attracting foreign investment in some significant sectors such as manmade fibre, backward linkage, design and innovation,” he added.
The BGMEA delegations also met Peter McAllister, executive director of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) of London, where a number of ETI member organizations participated.
“In this forum, we also highlighted our progress in ethical sourcing and discussed a variety of issues, including how to strengthen the supply chain partnership between the UK and Bangladesh for a sustainable garment industry,” said the BGMEA president.
He also said that the buyers expressed their satisfaction with the progress of the garment industry in Bangladesh and their interest in continuing sourcing from here as well as increasing the purchase orders in those meetings.
BGMEA wins WITSA Global ICT Excellence Award
At the press conference, Faruque Hassan said BGMEA received the “WITSA Global ICT Excellence Award” at the 25th World Congress on Information Technology.
BGMEA has received this award in the “Sustainable Development/Circular Economy” category for its use of the ‘Biometric Identity and Worker Information Management System’.
“Undoubtedly this is a matter of great pride for us. BGMEA took the initiative to initiate a biometric database for garment workers in 2013. At present this software is being used almost daily for more than 4 million workers in 2500 factories of BGMEA,” he said.
BGMEA at COP26: Accelerating apparel diplomacy
As part of the “Apparel Diplomacy” initiative, the BGMEA delegation has visited three European countries - the United Kingdom, Belgium and Scotland, in the second phase. The main purpose of the visit was to attend the United Nations COP26.
“During the visit, we had a number of meetings with the relevant stakeholders of the fashion supply chain and spoke about the role of manufacturers in protecting the interests of the industry, the economy, and especially foreign investment and climate change,” said Faruque Hassan.
BGMEA has signed the UNFCCC's Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in the garment sector by 2030 and is also involved in the German government's 'Green Button' initiative.
A Bangladesh pavilion was set up at the official venue of COP26 where they presented some promotional materials from BGMEA.
“In particular, we present the Sustainability Report 2020, based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), including SDG reporting from 47 member factories,” he added.
Moreover, BGMEA also signed an MoU with Primark, one of the major procurement brands of Bangladeshi apparel.
BGMEA delegates also met with some British MPs to seek their assistance for Bangladesh, which is facing challenges after graduating from LDC in 2026.
They also met with the director-general of the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX), representatives of the HSBC and the CEO of Laudes Foundation.
They also met with the fund director and director of the Good Fashion Fund (GFF) in Antwerp, Belgium to discuss how the GFF and BGMEA can work together on low-cost green financing in the garment industry.
Ongoing global inflation and rise in fuel price
The pandemic has threatened businesses over the past years. However, as a result of mass vaccinations around the world, normalcy is slowly returning to the major markets.
“Despite the good growth of our exports in recent months, the industry is indeed going through a challenging period,” he said.
“In the last one year, the price of yarn has increased by 60%, freight fare by 350% to 500%. Costs of dyes and chemicals have risen by 40% and wages by 7.5%.”
The price of electricity and gas has also gone up.
“Recently the price of diesel in the country has increased by 23% and in that ratio, the cost of power generation, transportation, and generators will also rise. This may increase the production costs by 4% to 5%,” he added.
He suggested that they need to be more aware of pricing and should not negotiate orders below the normal production price.
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