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Dhaka Tribune

Experts: RMG industry must switch to circular economy

They also said that the increased conscientiousness of the consumers is transforming how the apparel industry operates across the world

Update : 05 Oct 2021, 06:32 PM

Experts on Tuesday strongly encouraged engaging the local apparel sector in transitioning to a circular and sustainable economy, given how sustainable fashion is going to be the future of the industry.

They also said that the increased conscientiousness of the consumers is transforming how the apparel industry operates across the world.

The experts made their remarks during the first of the sustainable series webinar titled "Transitioning towards a Circular Economy for the Apparel Sector", organized by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) Bangladesh.

They also discussed how businesses are adapting to the demand for sustainable supply chains and what the apparel industry in Bangladesh can do to accelerate the change towards sustainable fashion even amidst the post-Covid-19 pandemic scenario.

Circular fashion industry is a fast-growing movement, which reuses and recycles all materials, eliminating waste and pollution and regenerating the environment in a circular model, said the speakers.

Also Read - Apparel recycling is crucial for sustainability

This rethinking of the fundamentals on how the industry operates is gaining traction among sustainable fashion brands.

These trends are signalling a transformation of the retail landscape and major shifts in the demographics of consumption, they added.

They also expressed that it is high time to set the goal to make fashion traceable, transparent and more sustainable for businesses, consumers – and the planet.             

Speaking at the event, Md Mahbub ur Rahman, CEO of HSBC Bangladesh, said that as a responsible global bank, HSBC is committed to the transition to a global net-zero economy by 2050.

“With a goal to ensure sustainable fashion and encourage a circular economy, we look forward to partnering with our customers, industry players and key stakeholders in mobilizing finance and accelerating innovation to lead the transition to net-zero carbon emission,” he added.

Gihan Palihena, director, Asia product supply chain - South Asia of Kontoor Brands, said that investing in people, developing talent and skills and understanding the value of data and speed are all key to being a market leader.

Kevin Green, country head of wholesale banking at HSBC Bangladesh, said that the textile and readymade garment sector is growing strongly in the post-pandemic era.

“The transition to a circular model, with reuse and recycling, is a really important shift towards sustainability. As more businesses plan to achieve net zero and their customers become increasingly pro-sustainability, the future of the industry is most likely to thrive,” he added.

Nikhil Hirdaramani, director of Hirdaramani Group; Kutubuddin Ahmed, chairman of Envoy Textiles Ltd and Envoy Group; Ranjan Mahtani, founder and executive chairman of Epic Group; Lindsey Hermes, head of enterprise solutions of Serai; Laura Galvin, regional head of international markets, commercial banking Asia-Pacific of HSBC; Lucy Acton,senior ESG analyst ofHSBC Global Research also spoke at the event.

Experts and entrepreneurs also said that setting up a sustainable and circular fashion industry, as well as introducing the habit of recycling and upcycling, are necessary to prevent the pollution created by fast fashion.

The global fashion industry has fallen into the trap of the fast fashion model, which leads to a hike in sales but comes at an ecological cost.

Also Read - Bangladesh apparel industry could save $500m a year by recycling cotton

To save the world from the damage caused by fast fashion, it is high time to take proper initiatives to introduce a sustainable and circular fashion industry.

As the second largest producer of the RMG, Bangladesh can play a vital role in the introduction of a sustainable and circular fashion industry.

The entrepreneurs and experts should have created a vision for the fashion industry to redesign the way clothes are made and used.

To fulfill the vision, the industry and the government have to work together to ensure significant investment, large-scale innovation, transparency and traceability.

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