Sustainable development requires maintaining a balance between the environment and industrialisation. In this regard, the country’s top business leaders have reached a consensus to ensure the conservation of natural resources through their business practices.
They also emphasised the importance of government incentives for ensuring environment-friendly industrialisation, and urged global buyers to pay fair prices for clothes produced in environment-friendly factories, reads a press release.
Business leaders made the remarks at a workshop titled "Natural Resources Conservation in Bangladesh: Scope of Private Sector Engagement,” organised under the USAID’s Green Life Project and implemented by the Arannayk Foundation.
Speaking as the chief guest at the event – held on Saturday at a city hotel, USAID Bangladesh Economic Growth Office Director Dr Muhammad Khan said, “We have been working to protect natural resources since 1990.
“Recalling the contribution of the private sector in the economic development of Bangladesh, the development of the private sector has reduced the country’s dependence on foreign assistance.”
He added, “The participation of entrepreneurs in the workshop and their opinions will play a critical role in combatting climate vulnerabilities. Forest degradation is at the centre of water, air and soil pollution and many other environmental crises.
“If forests can be preserved, most of the problems will be solved.”
As a special guest, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) former president and Bangladesh Employers Federation Md Fazlul Hoque said, “Except for having social recognition, there is no positive impact of green factories on business profitability.
“Rather, the cost of production has increased, which makes doing business difficult.”
Therefore, Fazlul Hoque sought incentives from the government to involve entrepreneurs more in the conservation of natural resources. He also urged buyers to pay higher prices for products produced in environment-friendly factories.
Another special guest, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Vice President Md Shahidullah Azim said, “At present, there are 195 lead-certified garment factories in the country.
“As a responsible trade body, BGMEA is implementing Four R: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, and Recover concepts and also heat management to give a clean world to the next generation.”
At the event, Arannayk Foundation Executive Director Rakibul Hasan Mukul said, “Ensuring harmony between the environment and business profit practices is a key to sustainable development. Hence, he urged all stakeholders to come forward to tackle the climate crisis.”
Dr Muhammad Khan urged corporate bodies to consider Arannayk Foundation for utilising their CSR funds to conserve nature.
Arannayk Foundation Programmes Head Masud Alam Khan delivered the keynote paper at the workshop.
Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BPGMEA) President Shamim Ahmed said, “Currently, the plastic sector of Bangladesh is in the orange category. Initiatives have been taken to turn this into a green industry.
“However, VAT has to be paid in several steps for recycling, which should be withdrawn.”
Well Group CEO Syed Nurul Islam said that the private sector is ready for environment-friendly industrialisation. However, the government has to play a leading role.
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI) Director Syed Moazzem Hossain stressed that government policy support is needed to make the private sector more engaged in conserving natural resources.
Syed Moazzem Hossain and WEND President Dr Nadia Binte Amin advised involving the new generation in protecting nature.
Calling for a move away from unplanned tourism, FBCCI Director MGR Nasir Majumder urged the government to formulate policies and implement them. He also proposed to give tax exemption to those engaged in waste management.
Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) President Shiblul Azam Koreshi urged the government to use the media effectively to create awareness in conducting responsible business practices.
Unilever's Corporate Affairs and Communication Department Director Shamima Akhter claimed that there are no other incentives for eco-friendly production. She stressed on the government to formulate policies to support the production of environment-friendly products.
British American Tobacco (BAT) Senior Manager of Sustainability Affairs Ahmed Raihan Ahsanullah said that his company, partnering with several organisations, is currently conducting various activities including afforestation, and drinking water supply.
Among others, Mati Organics Limited Manager Director Md Khayrul Alam Bhuiyan, DBC News Editor Pranab Saha Recycling Jar CEO Limited Ziaur Rahman, City Group T Estate General Manager Shazad Sarwar and Project and Programme of Bangladesh Tanners Association Head Rehana Aktar Ruma, also spoke in the workshop.