In a landmark move towards environmental stewardship, two fashion powerhouses, H&M Group and Bestseller, have teamed up with the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) to propel Bangladesh into a new era of renewable energy. Announced at COP28 on December 5, the collaborative initiative pledges an impressive $100 million investment to establish Bangladesh’s first offshore wind project, setting the stage for a revolutionary shift towards sustainability in the fashion and textile industry.
The ambitious project, still in its early stages, aims to harness the power of near-shore wind turbines off the coast of Cox’s Bazar to supply sustainable energy to Bangladesh’s power grid. If approved, the offshore wind farm is set to commence operations by 2028, slashing CO2 emissions by a staggering 725,000 tons annually. With a formidable 500 MW capacity, the wind project aligns seamlessly with Bangladesh’s commitment to fossil fuel independence, promoting job creation and fortifying energy stability.
Anders Holch Povlsen, CEO and owner of Bestseller, expressed the collective commitment to environmental responsibility, stating, “Helping to pave the way for a sustainable energy infrastructure in Bangladesh is one of many steps we can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our indirect value chain.”
Initiated by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), a leader in renewable green investments, the project will collaborate closely with Bangladeshi authorities and strategic partners. The pivotal role played by GFA in uniting global fashion industry leaders underscores a collective effort to guide the sector towards a more sustainable future, with a particular emphasis on expanding renewable energy in manufacturing countries.
Thomas Tochtermann, Chairman of GFA, emphasized the necessity of renewable energy availability in transforming the fashion industry’s emissions trajectory, stating, “Renewable energy availability is a necessity if we are to truly transform the emissions trajectory of the fashion industry, and collective action is essential to realizing this.”
This $100 million commitment marks Bestseller’s largest sustainability investment to date, showcasing their dedication to driving positive change. Niels Holst, Partner and Co-head of the Growth Markets Fund at CIP, highlighted the transformative potential of the Cox Bazar Wind Farm, saying, “If successful, the collaboration with GFA, Bestseller, H&M Group, and other fashion brands will represent a transformative model to progress a just and rapid energy transition in a number of the most vulnerable and carbon-intensive countries.”
Helena Helmersson, CEO of the H&M Group, emphasized the collaborative approach to sustainable financing solutions and policy work, stating, “The nearshore wind park in Bangladesh is an important step for the transformation of the Bangladesh renewable energy market, and we believe that this will contribute greatly to the decarbonization of the garment industry as a whole.”
Addressing the significant challenge of indirect greenhouse gas emissions in the fashion industry, Anders Holch Povlsen reinforced Bestseller’s commitment to reduction goals and a shift towards renewable energy. The partnership extends beyond monetary investment, exemplified by Bestseller’s 2022 initiative assisting Bangladeshi textile manufacturers in adopting solar panels.
In a final statement, Anders Holch Povlsen acknowledged the ongoing journey ahead, emphasizing the importance of investing ambitiously in Bangladesh. The groundbreaking collaboration between H&M Group, Bestseller, and GFA sets an inspiring precedent for the industry, signaling a united front in the pursuit of sustainable and environmentally responsible practices.