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SAF 2023 promotes sustainable apparel production in Bangladesh

Staff Correspondent
09 Mar 2023 19:00:42 | Update: 09 Mar 2023 20:27:53
SAF 2023 promotes sustainable apparel production in Bangladesh

A conference and exhibition on March 16 will spotlight opportunities for sustainable clothing production in Bangladesh. More than 60 renowned speakers and 20 exhibitors presenting green production technologies will be present at the event.

Issues on the agenda include circularity, CO2 reductions and climate action, shifting to renewable energy, and human rights due diligence, according to a press release.

The Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF), whose fourth edition will take place on March 16 in Dhaka, has become firmly established as a showcase event for fashion-sourcing executives in recent years.

At the event, high profile speakers include Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives Minister Md Tazul Islam, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, State minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak, Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Md Atiqul Islam, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Saber Hossain Chowdhury, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter D Hass,  Ambassador and Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union in Bangladesh Charles Whiteley, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan, former president of BGMEA and Chairman of Sterling Group Md Siddiqur Rahman, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Vice-President Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, Managing Director-KDS and Chairman of Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd Salim Rahman, Epic Group Executive Chairman Ranjan Mahtani, Laudes Foundation Head of Labour Rights Programme Naureen Chowdhury, and International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Director Tuomo Poutiainen.

Tapan Kanti Ghosh, senior secretary of the commerce ministry, Rene Van Berkel, UNIDO representative and head, UNIDO, Regional Office in India, Winnie Estrup Petersen, ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh, Alexandra Berg von Linde, Sweden ambassador to Bangladesh, Ziaur Rahman, regional country manager production (Bangladesh, Pakistan and Africa), H&M,  Dr Saleemul Huq, director, ICCCAD and professor of Independent University of Bangladesh, Bernadette Blom, director, Good Fashion Fund, Netherlands, Dr Shahriare Mahmood, chief sustainability officer, Spinnova PLC, Finland, Werner Lange, coordinator-Textile Cluster, GIZ, Hilde Van Duijn, head of Global Value Chains, Circle Economy, Netherlands, Micke Magnusson, entrepreneur in residence, Enviu, Netherlands, Helene Smits, chief sustainability officer, Recover, Spain, Miran Ali, vice-president, BGMEA,  Alamgir Morshed, executive director and CEO, Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (IDCOL),  Morten Lehmann, CEO and founder, Tailwind, Denmark, Naser Ezaz Bijoy, CEO, Standard Chartered Bangladesh, Ali Reza Iftekhar, managing director and CEO, Eastern Bank Ltd, Dr Vidhura Ralapanawe, executive vice-president, Epic Group, Ashish Damle, country director, Oxfam Bangladesh, Nawshad Mustafa, deputy general manager, Bangladesh Bank,  Mohamad Anis Agung Nugroho, programme manager, Better Work Bangladesh, Dr Bernd Spanier, deputy head of delegation, Delegation of the European Union in Bangladesh, Kathryn Davis Stevens, mission director, USAID Bangladesh, Andrew Martin, vice-president, Membership and Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), USA, Ruairidh McCarthy, head of Partnership Development, WaterAid, UK, Jasmin Malik Chua, sourcing and labour editor, Sourcing Journal, and many more will attend the event.

Sustainability teams at the world’s leading fashion brands are under heightened pressure to improve their performance on environmental and social issues, read the release.

Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) has become a key boardroom topic, while ongoing regulatory reform means fashion buyers need a better understanding of the sustainability performance of their supply chains.

Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest garment-sourcing destination. In recent years, it has positioned itself as one of the foremost green production hubs. The country easily has the most LEED-rated factories and has also undertaken a huge factory safety programme over the past decade.

The Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) 2023 brings together clothing manufacturers, government officials and policymakers, professionals in green finance, human rights specialists, green production and technology experts, fashion sustainability and sourcing teams and NGOs working in fashion supply chains.

The event will include a range of plenaries, seminars, green growth exhibitions and informal networking opportunities.

Event partners include Laudes Foundation, KDS Group, PDS Ltd, Epic Group, Noize Jeans, International Labour Organization (ILO)- Better Work Bangladesh, WaterAid Bangladesh, Oxfam in Bangladesh, commerce ministry, US Embassy in Bangladesh, Delegation of the European Union in Bangladesh, Embassy of Denmark in Bangladesh, Embassy of Sweden in Bangladesh, UNIDO, USAID Bangladesh, Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), ICCCAD, IDCOL, GIZ, The Apparel Impact Institute, Good Fashion Fund, Enviu, Fashion for Good, SLCP, Circle Economy, Global Labor Institute, Sourcing Journal USA, H&M Group, Bestseller, YKK Corporation, Spinnova PLC, Standard Chartered, and Eastern Bank Ltd.

Event exhibitors are A&E, YKK, Smartex AI, Recover, Reverse Resources, Agroshift Technologies Ltd, Eurofins, DIFE, Vision Spring, Merchant Bay, Green Bud, Shahjalal Poly and many more.

The Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) 2023 arrives at a decisive time for the fashion industry and its sustainability agenda. The past two years have seen a shift away from voluntary agreements by the industry towards hard rules and regulations. Penalties for failing to improve sustainability performance will mean lost business for fashion brands as well as potentially falling foul of supply chain due diligence laws. This is an industry in transition.

SAF organiser Mostafiz Uddin said, “At every major fashion brand, the conversation is the same right now. It is ‘how can we reduce our carbon emissions in order to meet net zero targets.’

“For years, fashion brands focused on their own retail operations, but the research shows that up to 90 per cent of carbon emissions take place at Tier 3 level – in other words in supply chains.

“That is why events such as Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) are so critical, as they offer an opportunity to explore the challenges we face in reducing emissions and improving sustainability performance. SAF brings together all of the key stakeholders involved in the fashion and textile industries as well as policymakers and businesses which can provide solutions to some of the problems the industry is trying so hard to solve.”

He continued, “As well as looking at environmental issues, Sustainable Apparel Forum 2023 will explore the social context, including better wages and rights for garment workers – a subject which is close to my heart.

“Ours is an industry which is changing like never before. Sourcing teams are making key strategic decisions, in many cases taking production out of China as they look to save costs and reduce their dependence on that country.

“This represents an opportunity for Bangladesh but only if we present ourselves as a genuinely green and sustainable alternative. At Sustainable Apparel Forum 2023 we will present our vision for greener, cleaner, more ethical supply chains to the outside world.”