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Dhaka Tribune

Experts: Green factories, circular economy key to sustainable RMG industry

It is imperative to ensure the growth of the circular economy for sustainable development in the apparel sector

Update : 20 Dec 2023, 06:41 PM

According to a report by Denmark-based Fashion Partnership Organization, 2019, Bangladesh exports 60% of its textile wastage annually. But Bangladesh can reduce its 15% demand of total cotton import by reusing its wastage cotton.        

At the same time, the demand for water in its textile industry will increase threefold compared to its internal demand by 2030. Under the circumstances, it is imperative to ensure the growth of the circular economy for sustainable development in the apparel sector.      

While presenting the keynote paper at the dialogue, Faisal Rabbi, stakeholder engagement & public affairs manager, H&M, said: "60% of our GHG emission is coming from production countries, to achieve our net zero target by 2040 the GHG reduction must happen in production countries like Bangladesh. The Bangladesh government and the industry here need to align with the goals of fashion brands as they are not just goals set by the brands but a legal requirement for market access going forward."

The dialogue titled "Circularity, de-carbonization, and competitiveness in Bangladesh’s apparel sector" was held at a hotel at Gulshan in the capital.

LightCastle Partners, a management consulting firm, and Policy Exchange Bangladesh, jointly organized the dialogue on Tuesday.

LightCastle Partners in collaboration with Policy Exchange of Bangladesh has taken up an extensive program titled "Bunon 2030" to ascertain transformations to be brought in the apparel sector. As part of the plan, the dialogue was arranged to chalk out strategy and implementing processes in the future.   

While presenting for a deep dive workshop, Mrinmoy Sobhan, Business Consultant at LightCastle Partners, said that the use of garment products is expected to reach 102 billion items across the world by 2030. It may increase the emission of greenhouse gasses by up to 50%. Bangladesh’s apparel sector produces about 577,000 tonnes of textile waste in a year.  

Bangladesh imports raw materials worth $3.5 billion annually, at the same time, it exports high-quality garment jhuts. Hence, the importance of circularity practices is increasing not only regarding the environmental issue in a competitive market but also into economic consideration, he said.     

Dr M Masrur Reaz, chairman and CEO of Policy Exchange Bangladesh, moderated the dialogue.

Vidiya Amrit Khan, director, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said recycling has always been a part of Bangladesh in a non-systematic and informal way as hand-me-downs or passed on to plastic handlers and fabric segregators.

Md. Ariful Hoque, director general of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), said: "Recycled products also need to have enough competitive edge, otherwise consumers will not accept them."

According to a latest report of BGMEA, there are over 200 industry-friendly apparel factories in the country. It is imperative to give attention to the issue of reuse of textile wastage for reducing carbon footprint.       

The dialogue mentioned a number of challenges such as the banks and financial institutions’ lack of meeting the 5% “green loan” target.

Other challenges in the sector include attracting the right investments, financial problems for establishing solar factories, the inability of most organizations regarding repayment of loans, and not easy access to loans for small and medium-level organizations.

On behalf of LightCastle Partners, co-founder and director Zahedul Amin, Business Consultant Samiha Anwar, and other officials spoke.

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