New investment in the apparel sector of Bangladesh should be more environment-friendly as many western countries and the European Union (EU) are adopting green policy, said Cem Altan, president of the International Apparel Federation (IAF).
The apparel industry, one of the largest industries in the world, has a major climate footprint, he said.
He made the comment at a panel discussion at the 37th IAF Fashion Convention- 2022 in the capital on Monday.
“Even If we don’t feel that responsibility, in Europe the Green Deal promises the biggest set of environmental legislation for our industry and unfortunately at this moment our industry does not have a very green reputation,” he added.
IAF is the world’s leading federation for apparel manufacturers, (SME) brands, their associations and supporting industries.
Bangladesh is now hosting the convocation for the first time ever, he said.
IAF membership now includes apparel associations and companies from more than 40 countries. The membership directly and indirectly represents over a hundred thousand companies and over 20 million employees.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President, however, said in the past decade, the industry had undergone a massive transformation to ensure workplace safety, workers’ well-being and sustainability.
Bangladesh is now the role model for Industrial safety and environmental sustainability to the world with 177 USGBC LEED certified factory buildings.
Though the manufacturers are already executing sustainable business practice into their value chain, there are still some scopes that have remained to be enhanced, he noted.
In his keynote titled ‘The Impact of Europe’s Green Deal’ Drik Vantyghem, Director General of the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX), said the three drivers for this EU strategy included focus on sustainability, industrial resilience and a new global perspective.
In these three drivers, sustainability includes a set of elements including zero pollution, circular economy where industrial resilience focus on change in industrial ecosystem and global perspective focus on an open, sustainable and assertive trade policy, he added.
In the new deal, EU consumers will focus on durable, repairable and recyclable textile products made from recycled fibers, hazard-free materials and respecting social rights.
It also focuses on end of the fast fashion by emphasizing on circular, re-use and repair services, and a textile sector fully competitive, innovative and resilient, he added.
The new regulatory framework will also include eco-design regulation, due diligence, digital product passport, green claims, Ecolabel and many more, he added.
IAF Chief Cem Altan said: “The industry faces a business problem due to the global inflation, order cancellations, filled warehouses, discounts, etc and the manufacturers feel the squeeze from higher costs and lower demand.
“Now everyone should realize the need to come together as an industry to solve the problems and the major challenges including playing a crucial role in a successful industry transformation, reducing CO2 emissions and investments in lower energy use machines and processes,” the IAF Chief said.
Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Vice President and IAF Board Member Fazlee Shamim Ehsan said: “Transforming fashion together is the theme of the event and sustainability is the main focus in this transformation.”
In the 1st panel on ‘Creating better supply chains together BMGEA Vice President Miran Ali, Chainge Capital CEO John Thorback, RSC MD Roger Hubert and Asrotex Group Head of Business Abdullah Al Maher discussed on how should they restore the buyer-supplier relationship to enable supply chains to deliver a more sustainable product with better conditions for its people.
They also discussed on a special focus on innovation in supply chain and global standards such as STTI and the OECD’s due diligence guidance.