4th edition of SAF 2023 to promote sustainable apparel production in Bangladesh

Desk Report: A conference and exhibition on 16 March will spotlight opportunities for sustainable clothing production in Bangladesh as over 60 renowned speakers and 20 exhibitors presenting green production technologies will be present.

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

The Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF), whose 4th edition will take place on next week in Radisson Blu Water Garden, Dhaka, has become firmly established as a showcase event for fashion sourcing executives in recent years. Many notable personalities, including high government officials, 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.

Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) has become a key boardroom topic, while ongoing regulatory reform means fashion buyers need 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 are — Laudes Foundation, KDS Group, PDS Limited, Epic Group, Noize Jeans, International Labour Organization (ILO)- Better Work Bangladesh, WaterAid Bangladesh, Oxfam in Bangladesh, Ministry of Commerce, U.S. 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, Eastern Bank Limited.

Event exhibitors 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.

Mostafiz Uddin is the organiser of the Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF). He 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% 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 added. “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,” he furthered. He said, “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.”