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Green Industry Bangladesh- Moving Ahead

Engr. Abrar A Apu

Assistant Professor, Department of Textile Engineering,

Daffodil International University

(This content is to be presented as key note at the 1st ever Panel Discussion session “Tex Talk” on “Green Industry Bangladesh-Moving Ahead” organized by Textile Focus and Redcarpet365 Ltd on December 02, 2017 at International Convention City Bashundhara, Dhaka)

locationBangladesh born in 1971 and during this time, tea and jute sector were the most export-oriented sector. Within a decade, textile industry started to take the lead in the export-oriented sector, and now its contribution to total export is about 81% and 13% to our total GDP. The growth of our textile sector is remarkable. Remarkable not only export value but also its pragmatic improvement in the manufacturing environment. Green manufacturing is becoming basic philosophy for our industry sector. It seems that our motto green industry Bangladesh-movie ahead. But what is green industry and why?

The book “The Limit to Growth” published in 1972, by a group of scientists and environmental scholars focusing computer simulation of exponential economic and population growth with finite resources supplies. The conclusion of the simulation was that the world will not exist in 2100 due to resources exhaustion if we continue to use our resource in the traditional manner. But we all want to keep this planet sustain for ourselves and the generation to come because we do not inherit the earth from ancestors; we borrow it from our children. As an active approach to save our world in 1987, Bruntland Commission’s commitment was to popularise the term “Sustainable Development” ensuring environmental protection and social development. In 1992 in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development accelerated the concept on Sustainability. In 2000, Millennium Summit’s one of the MDG was “Environmental Sustainability”. In 2008, world food, fuel and financial crises converged- considered as global tsunami. Next year in 2009, green industrial manufacturing ideas enter the mainstream through the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). The UNEP defines three pillars of green industry-low carbon growth, resource efficiency and social inclusivity. To uphold economy through green industry approach, different nations, associations and NGO started their own initiatives to keep sustain this world. These initiatives are called International Standard, Code of Conducts, and or Commitments based on its criterion set by independent parties, parties in the concern and or own claims. Some of these are prepared for generic use while rest for specific use. If we take examples based on our textile-clothing sector, generic green approaches are: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 26000, SA8000, and LEED mentionable while GOTS, Oeko-tex STeP, Fairtrade Textile Production, OCS, BSCI, SEDEX, WRAP, Bluesign, Eco passport, Oeko-tex Stadnard, Higg Index and ZDHC. All these initiatives have been contributing in green industry based on their areas of their influences.

Traditional industrial activities impact on environment. But green industry ensures that industrial activities do not impact our environment if impact is unavoidable then it shall be “bearable” by environment and to comply so, the industry has to take innovative steps such as reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, redesign and remanufacture of facilities. In addition to this, green industry ensures social rights of its people through fair remuneration, non-discrimination and CSR.

There are multiple benefits from pursuing a Green Industry approach. These may include reduced raw material (i.e. commodity) costs, increased security of supply, reduced pollution risks and costs, lower cost of capital, increased employee appeal and engagement, increased awareness of emerging smart technologies, enhanced innovation capacity and skills, and improved brand recognition and competitive position in markets.

Now, Bangladesh considered to be one of the fastest movers in adopting green approaches both on environmental structures and processes. Experts’ opinions that Bangladesh may become the most leading green manufacturing industries in the world within the next decade. There are more than 67 textile-clothing factories LEED certified, and more than 300 factories are in the process from planning stage to certification stages. It is also mentionable that LEED certified 7 out of 10 highest rating (platinum) factories are in Bangladesh. US Green Building Council (USGBC) statistics show that there are 108 green buildings in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has 4th highest number of certified textile-clothing factories in GOTS list after India, Turkey and Germany. There are more than 350 certified factories under GOTS certification.

The green industrial movement is a long time-term investment strategy and planning for sustainable long run return. To support long term strategy and planning for the green movement, we need to follow principles that are –

  • The sustainable principles
  • The justice-principle to deliver equity
  • The dignity principle to create genuine prosperity
  • The healthy planet principle to rehabilitate those are degraded
  • The inclusion principle to ensure participatory decision making
  • The good governance and accountability
  • The resilience principle to enhance social and natural system to maintain their integrity
  • The effective and efficiency to sustainable consumption and production and
  • The generation principles for the present and future.

Bangladesh is second largest clothing manufacturer and exporter in the globe after china. Bangladesh in the first priority choice list among almost all global clothing buyers including H&M and Zara. A report from 2014 says that 55% of consumers across 60 countries are willing to pay higher price for goods from environmentally conscious companies, i.e., green industry. Bangladesh does not secure this glorious position in the buyers’ priority list due to only cheap labour cost, comparatively better quality assurance, and price but also green industry approaches taken by the most of the manufacturers.

To achieve export target US $ 50 billion by 2021, we can not go for more and more factories because we have limitation to land, energy, water and manpower. We need to go for such practical concept that ensure sustainable more and better output with less. This such concept is green industry to create strong brand value and higher value addition.

Private Initiatives by the investors is very much appreciable in going ahead in green industry in Bangladesh. Policy green industry from our government will help industry to move faster than before. On November 11, 2017, the daily newspaper “The Daily Start” quoted news as “Bangladesh needs a green growth strategy”. Countries like Vietnam, India, Kazakhstan, Maldives, and Thailand have already adopted policy initiative for the green growth. Bangladesh should formulate policy on green growth. In addition to this, Bangladesh shall go for industry-based standard.

Below is a list of Green Factories





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