According to the industry experts, collaboration with buyers, manufacturers, and the government and sufficient finance are mandatory for the green transition of the readymade garment (RMG) industry of Bangladesh.
They also said that the collaboration is not just part of sharing ideas but also a funding and situations so that they can close the full cycle of the project of green transitions.
The experts were discussing at various plenary sessions at the first ever Bangladesh Climate Action Forum 2023 organized by the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) in the capital on Wednesday.
In the plenary session titled “Decarbonization: The Opportunity and Challenges of the Bangladesh RMG Industry”, Inamul Haq Khan, managing director of Ananta Companies, said that sufficient soft loan is needed for the green transition of the country’s RMG industry.
In installation of solar power, renewable energy, energy efficiency, upgrading machinery to use less energy, and all recycle materials for product sustainability, funding is mandatory.
In this regard, good purchasing practices of the buyers and government incentivization are stressed.
Shafiur Rahman, South Asian Operation Head of G-Star Raw, said that their brand set target of reducing carbon emission by 15% in 2025 and by 30% in 2030.
“As a brand, we say our designers, once they have designed a product, they always think about recycling and organic material. In 2021, we reduced the use of plastic in packaging by thickening them,” he added.
Their vendors are already producing solar energy and have been using natural light then, he added.
“We are ensuring good purchasing technique to create a financial freedom fundamental for the manufacturers so that they can conduct something beyond business,” he added.
In the plenary session titled “Policy Landscape and Improvements to Facilitate Change”, Nafis Ud Doula, director of Impress-Newtex Composite Textile Ltd, said that the process decarbonization, solar, rainwater harvesting, and greening the industry need funding.
“There are so many institutions to provide fund – but, the main challenge is to access for the funding. The case is much tougher for the SMEs,” he added.
Moreover, the buyers and the government should provide support in this like the government should give waiver of around 2%-5% in the income tax of the green RMG units and the buyers can ensure ethical buying practice by providing fair prices.
“Bangladesh is one of the most climate vulnerable countries but is doing amazing work in terms of green building and sustainable industry. Now the retail consumers should perform good purchasing practices,” he added.
Gihan Palihena, director (Asia Product Supply – South Asia) of Kontoor Brands Inc, said that Bangladesh is doing very well in green transition.
“Bangladesh needs definite policies and framework to accelerate the green transition. Though Bangladesh has the highest number of LEED Green Factories, the large number is yet now out of green,” he added. So, the term green factories should be initiated as policies in the country, he added.
Shahidullah Azim, vice president of the BGMEA, said that the RMG industry has already made unparalleled advancements in the green transition, and they are considered a global model of green manufacturing hub.
As an apex organization, BGMEA’s strategic vision for 2030 includes reducing 30% GHG emission, 50% use of sustainable raw materials, 50% reduction of groundwater usage, 100% use of ZDHC chemical usage, 30% reduction of energy usage, 20% use of renewable energy and 30% reduction of deforestation.
“In Bangladesh, 400,000 MT of pre-consumed textile waste is produced every year. We are urging all buyers, manufacturers and government to work together to make Bangladesh a recyle hub,” he added.
Buddhi Paranamana of PDS Limited urged to maximize transparency and incentivization of the green transition process.
Ambreen Tabassum of Decathlon Bangladesh stressed educating all parties regarding decarbonization and green transition.
Azizur Rahim Chowdhury, managing director of JM Fabrics Ltd, said that accessing the fund of GTF, TTF at 5% interest rate is so much for the factories.
He urged to ease this accession and also stressed introducing OSS for the all required licenses they need as they have to fall on red trap in licensing or renewing any licenses, roughly have to go 23 separate departments for 23 licenses.
Speakers and stakeholders from various stage like manufacturers, buyers, brands, bank and financial institutions personnel, development partners, government officials and academicians also spoke at various plenary sessions of the forum.