The issue of responsible business and sustainable trade should not be confined to the manufacturer’s level, said Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan on Thursday.
“Because manufacturers are a part of the supply chain and every individual within the supply chain has their own roles and responsibility. So, a hand-holding approach is needed to ensure sustainable business environment within the supply chain,” he said urging all stakeholders to put efforts together in a collaborative approach to build a more sustainable and resilient supply chain.
He came up with the observations while addressing the opening plenary of the fourth edition of the Sustainable Apparel Forum in Dhaka.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi attended the programme as the chief guest.
Peter D Haas, US ambassador to Bangladesh, Charles Whiteley, ambassador and head of delegation, Delegation of the European Union in Bangladesh, Salim Rahman, managing director, KDS, Ranjan Mahtani, executive chairman, Epic Group, Naureen Chowdhury, head of labour rights programme, Laudes Foundation, also spoke at the session as guests of honour.
Faruque Hassan, who attended the opening plenary as a guest of honour, said sustainability was a key priority for BGMEA and in the ready-made garment (RMG) industry of Bangladesh at large.
“And our strides towards sustainability, particularly in the areas of environmental and social sustainability in past decades testify to the fact. We have ensured 100 per cent in the workplace which has restored global confidence in us. We have taken a number of initiatives to ensure the better well-being of our workers,” he said.
He continued, “We also have taken further steps to make the industry greener and cleaner. We have now the highest number of LEED green factories certified by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) which is 192. Also, 53 out of 100 world’s top green garment factories are situated in Bangladesh.”
Instead of country-specific or trading block-specific legislation, he underscored the importance of the human rights and environmental due diligence which are accepted by the all players in the global fashion industry.
The fashion industry needs to agree on a globally standardised approach to purchasing practices and due diligence, the BGMEA president said, adding that otherwise it would become too difficult for the suppliers to comply with thousand different structures.
He urged all stakeholders to collaborate, and exchange knowledge and expertise to ensure more decent employment, and build a resilient and sustainable fashion industry.