BGMEA has launched Go Human, Go Green with 7 pledges to make a difference to the livelihood of garment workers, community and environment, and thus aligning the apparel industry with critical aspects of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Honorable Commerce Minister of Bangladesh Tipu Munshi, MP inaugurated BGMEA’s “Go Human, Go Green” at a program held virtually on 12 December 2020. Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam attended the launching ceremony as special guest.
BGMEA President Dr. Rubana Huq announced the 7 pledges made by BGMEA to contribute to improving educational, economic, social, and physical and mental health conditions of garment workers, as well building a more socio-economically advanced and sustainable future for the RMG sector.
BGMEA Senior Vice President Faisal Samad made a presentation on the new website of BGMEA which was launched by the honorable Commerce Minster.
- Pledge to Workers Education
A total 70 female garment workers has been given chance to pursue their graduation at Asian University of Women (AUW) with the assistance from the respective factory owners towards meeting the needs of their educational expenses. The initiative drew much global attention and praise as well and got wide coverage among the international audience. As the first batch, four of them have graduated this year and are getting employment opportunities within and outside of the industry. This is a great milestone in educating and uplifting the status of our female workforce in RMG industry. BGMEA and Asian University for Women have conjointly planned to organize an e-graduation ceremony on 16th of December 2020 where renowned personalities from home and abroad will attend and share their views.
- Pledge to Early Childhood Learning of Workers’ Children
While their parents are working, many children spend their whole day in the factory day care centers. BGMEA and Jaago Foundation have partnered in an initiative to provide online education for these children during the day time. Jaago Foundation will assist in providing online classes at the Day-Care Center of the factories. An initial pilot program is on the making and will be later expanded significantly which will facilitate learning for workers’ children. Our long term plan is to educate them with the knowledge of basic coding program if it supports their ability and willingness.
- Pledge to Mental Health
Mental health has been identified as a key issue which was often overlooked. Acknowledging the importance of mental health and wellbeing of our workers is one of our major concerns and that’s why, BGMEA has joined hands with “Moner Bondhu”, a platform which provides care for mental health and well-being service. Moner Bondhu’s facilitators are currently conducting counselling sessions and engaging with workers in many stress-management exercises, meditation which eventually uplifts the level of motivation in factories. They are also being given the opportunity to connect with “Moner Bondhu” later for follow ups. So far the sessions have been held in 50 factories.
- Pledge to Sustainability
BGMEA in collaboration with UNDP and GRI is conducting a survey on “Sustainability Reporting Study Mapping in 50 RMGs in Bangladesh” to develop a report highlighting the impact of Ready-Made Garment (RMG) factories on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report is to be used for tailored advocacy with relevant stakeholders and determining the contribution of the RMG sector to national SDG achievement.
- Pledge to Culture Export of Bangladesh
Exporting the culture of Bangladesh and create our own footstep in international fashion arena will be a milestone for us. Pitching brands to buy our line of heritage product is our agenda. Renowned Fashion designers like Anadil Johnson with her Jamdani bomber jacket collection, Rina Latif with her haute couture, Kuhu Plamondon with her Royal Bengal tiger inspired collection of athletic wear are the first three to have engaged with this project. A virtual fashion show in December will be showcasing their designs on Bangladesh culture catered to western market.
- Pledge to Workers Health
BGMEA has taken massive number of steps to protect the workers and the industry from the ongoing pandemic which has brought a catastrophe to our life. Starting from factory health and safety protocols, telemedicine, collaboration with Maya, CommonHealth, BSMMU; Online platform Inspectorio, dedicated PCR labs for testing workers, isolation center, factory audits and many more. It has helped us to keep the infection below 0.03% and we may tell that we have successfully moved out from the direst situation started in March-April. However, the chance of a second wave or second strive of infection cannot be ignored and BGMEA is taking precautions for combating the worst case scenario accordingly.
- Pledge to Industry Innovation and Efficiency
Garment factories in Bangladesh usually tend to get the design from the brands and buyers and replicate due to deficiency in product development capacity. Having own product development capacity helps better in terms of negotiation and profitability. Lead time of production is also one of the major impediments for the industry. Modern software for fabric cutting optimization, 3D sampling and pattern making are being used in the global fashion industry to make the processes faster and easier. To keep pace with the changing demands, Bangladesh RMG industry also feels the need to embrace innovation in the production system. Thus, BGMEA has taken an initiative to establish a centre for productivity, innovation and OSH for garment factories to enhance competitiveness of the RMG industry of Bangladesh.
BGMEA has launched these initiatives with a hope to reposition our industry’s approach to social and environmental causes, which will lay significant stepping stones toward pursuing SDGs.