Journey toward excellence in sustainability

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You may recall one of my emails that I sent you about BGMEA’s renewed logo and vision where I explained all the ‘nine-dots’ of the logo and how the ‘dots’ connect the values that we cherish toward sustainability. I am writing this email to share some of the recent developments in our trade and emerging priorities over sustainability and responsible business.

Our planet ‘earth’ is probably going through the worst time ever. Due to climate change extreme weather events are happening quite frequent now as nature is taking its own course. Extreme rain and heat now appears to be quite regular. A recent report by Schroders (SDR.L) and Cornell University shows that extreme heat and flooding could erase $65 billion in apparel export earnings from four Asian countries by 2030 while Bangladesh alone may face a US$27 billion worth of export wipeout and 250,000 job losses in its fashion-manufacturing industry. This is quite vulnerable for us being one of the most climate vulnerable country and we cannot remain indifferent about it.

The importance of sustainability among the stakeholders, particularly the global buyers and consumer, are ever increasing. Buyers are adopting their roadmap to become carbon neutral in committed time frame and focusing on renewable energy and green technologies and processes. Rainwater harvesting, low liquor ratio dyeing machines, water-efficient fixtures, proper management of effluent treatment plants, re-use and recycling of water, etc.  Today, the world is focusing more on circular fashion, and the use of sustainable material and non-hazardous chemicals.

Labor and human rights, and social compliance are being equally prioritized. You are aware that the due diligence protocols adopted by foreign governments particularly, the German Due Diligence Supply Chain Act, the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) by European Union, the Dutch bill on the Responsible and Sustainable International Business Conduct Act etc. are purposed to ensure social and environmental exploitation free supply chains. Even, the post LDC market access would require us to better comply with ESG issues.

Being part of the global supply chain, we need to continuously improvise ourselves especially in the area of responsible manufacturing. In fact, we are among a few countries that made such a distinct progress in the area of sustainability and workplace safety so rigorously and transparently. Yet, in the ever-expanding horizon of sustainability, we have no scope to be complacent, but we need to enlighten and prepare ourselves on new and emerging issues and adapt to changes.

With that spirit, we reinvigorated the logo of BGMEA that captures our glorious past of resilience and dynamism and connect us to the future and possibilities. While we unveiled the new logo, we also shared the Sustainability Strategic Vision 2030 of BGMEA which identifies the key ESG priorities of the industry. You might have noticed that all nine dots in the logo are a matrix of our values like – people inclusivity, transparency, infrastructure, innovation, circularity, branding, strengthening our global network, and protecting the environment.

In developing the logo, our priority was to preserve the spirit of our legacy and successive leadership. Therefore in the new one. Therefore, you will see that the fundamental color pallet of the logo has been kept unchanged. The difference is that now we have a story behind the color and symbols of the logo. The color gold is a warm color that is associated with illumination, love, compassion, courage, passion. It also signifies the legacy of BGMEA. The color Blue represents meanings of depth, trust, wisdom, innovation and intelligence, signifying BGMEA’s transformational goals. Indigo symbolizes integrity and intuition. It’s the color of pride, dignity but can also express a feeling of balance and structure. It also signifies the broader impact created by BGMEA.

We believe the logo speaks by itself the commitment of this industry, its stance toward climate and people, and connects the ongoing transformation within the industry to the world. This is not a mere marketing initiative for us, but a force to align us with global expectations and keep us distinct in the competition. It’s not about making a new logo, but we are working tirelessly to prepare ourselves in that direction. We are working with our patrons, development partners to build capacity in the area of social and environmental due diligence. We have set up the Responsible Business Hub at BGMEA with the support from GIZ to build awareness and capacity at factory level to adapt with German due diligence directives. We have entered into a partnership with H&M to accelerate the transition towards a circular and climate-neutral garment industry in Bangladesh. We have established the Centre of innovation, Centre of efficiency and Centre of OSH, and the Textile Technology Business Center (TTBC) at BGMEA to support factories to decarbonize and adopt resource efficiency measures to reduce climate footprint and simultaneously increase profits through access to credible information and technology. We are also working with UNICEF to promote the maternity rights of women workers and facilitate breastfeeding in the RMG sector under the Mothers@Work Program. We are also collaboratively working with UNIDO, GFA, Bestseller, Circle Economy and few others to foster circularity within the industry in terms of the post industrial waste. All these initiatives have strategic focus toward the future, and only the ones who are in global trade can feel the pulse of it.

I am sure you would find all the initiatives that the BGMEA has taken complementary to our collective vision. I would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions on these issues, please.

AUthor: Faruquqe Hassan, President of BGMEA