Green industry initiative is a major driver towards sustainable industrial development around the world. According to USGBC, Bangladesh is now home to the highest number of platinum rated garment factories in the world, which portrays the country’s strong footing in green production, a leader of the garment makers’ platform. Recently Textile Focus was in conversation with Santanu Dutta Gupta, USGBC Faculty, Regional Head, Market Development GBCI, Eastern India, Bangladesh & Vietnam Markets, about the future of green movement in Bangladesh.
Textile Focus : In this post pandemic situation, how do you see the textile & apparel business in Bangladesh?
Santanu Dutta Gupta: It is true that apparel sector was hugely affected during the time of pandemic. We have observed uncertainty around the globe. Bangladesh was also affected tremendously but the market has bounced back. Bangladesh garment industry has always generated a very high revenue and the world leaders have praised the growth of the Bangladesh garment industry. It was possible because of the outstanding leadership of the garment manufacturers of Bangladesh in the area of sustainability, health and well being, resiliency and social equity. We would like to applaud the world class initiatives taken by BGMEA under the exceptional leadership of Mr Faruque Hassan. We at USGBC- GBCI are glad that we could add value to the sustainability movement of Bangladesh garment industry.
Textile Focus: In this hard time, what is the recent activities of USGBC?
Santanu Dutta Gupta: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, USGBC has released six LEED Safety First pilot credits. These credits outline sustainable best practices related to cleaning and disinfecting, workplace re-occupancy, HVAC and plumbing operations, and pandemic preparedness and response.
You can view them all on USGBC’s COVID-19 resources page.
- The Safety First: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Space creditrequires facilities to create a policy and implement procedures that follow green cleaning best practices that support a healthy indoor environment and worker safety.
- The Safety First: Re-enter Your Workspace creditis a tool to assess and plan for re-entry as well as to measure progress once the space is occupied.
- The Safety First: Building Water System Recommissioning credithelps building teams reduce the risk that occupants are exposed to degraded water quality.
- The Safety First: Managing Indoor Air Quality During COVID-19 creditbuilds on existing indoor air quality requirements and credits in LEED.
- The Safety First: Pandemic Planning creditis intended to help cities and communities prepare for, control and mitigate the spread of disease during a pandemic that poses a high risk to people.
- The Safety First: Social Equity in Pandemic Planning creditsystematically considers equity implications across all phases of the pandemic preparedness, planning and response process.
Textile Focus: How do you see Bangladesh Market?
Santanu Dutta Gupta: Bangladesh market is one of the most important markets for us and will be one of the biggest in South Asia in upcoming 5-10 years. Bangladesh will show an exceptional leadership in not only apparel sector, but also in information technology, electronics manufacturing, pharmaceutical, hospitality, logistics and warehouse facilities. Sustainability will play a massive role in this expansion.
Many leaders have already started implementing there ESG goals and have started aligning themselves with SDG 17. After COP26 the Bangladesh market has become extremely aware of decarbonisation, sustainability and health & well being. We would like to thank the Hon. Govt. of Bangladesh and BGMEA for showcasing LEED certified garment factories in Glasgow COP26. We were thrilled to learn that 15 LEED certified factories were recognized by Her Excellency Hon. Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. This has inspired other sectors including government infra to go for for LEED certification. We would like to acknowledge the efforts of all the green building consultants, architects engineers and building service providers who are talking about the necessity of LEED on bigger platforms.
Textile Focus: How USGBC is providing support to factory who are achieved LEED?
Santanu Dutta Gupta: There are more than 157 factories which have achieved LEED certification in Bangladesh. Their sustainability journey doesn’t stop there. It is just a beginning. Through the LEED digital platform, any facility can monitor and improve their LEED green performance real time. This arc platform is a robust, open API system which can be plugged to any BMS or digital sensors of any building.
The LEED digital platform will show the real time performance of the building in five categories VIZ energy ,water ,waste ,transportation and human experience. The data entry can be done manually as well. Many factories have signed up for this platform which will help them to achieve LEED Operations & Maintenance Certification.. Our technical team from USGBC/ GBCI and consultants are always ready to hand hold and support customers along this direction.
Textile Focus: What is the new services launched by USGBC?
Santanu Dutta Gupta: There are many initiatives. But we would like to talk about a few here. For the past few years we are working at a city and community level as well. In collaboration with municipal authorities ,city planners and Government, we are certifying new and existing cities around the globe. There are more than 140 cities that are LEED certified or in the process of getting certified and the list is growing day by day. We are also closely working with the authorities of manufacturing hubs, industrial townships, tech- parks, economic zones export processing zones etc to achieve LEED for cities and communities certification. We have expressed our interest to add value to economic zones in Bangladesh through LEED Cities & Communities program.
One of our main initiatives is also to help the World to accelerate towards Net Zero goal through the newly launched program- LEED Zero. We have received tremendous response from global leaders and they have been closely working with us to achieve LEED Zero for their facilities. A building can become LEED Zero in four categories. LEED Zero carbon or LEED Zero energy or LEED Zero water or LEED Zero waste. We see many leadership organizations in Bangladesh achieving LEED Zero in the comin years.
Textile Focus: Green garments factory owners say that buyers are not providing green price, how USGBC support to ensure fair price from buyer?
Santanu Dutta Gupta: I believe this scenario has changed now. As I mentioned earlier, in post pandemic situation Bangladesh has showcased outstanding leadership in sustainability and health & well being. Fashion industry leaders, thought leaders and apparel manufacturers have given tremendous importance to workers’ health, safety and well-being and LEED has helped them to showcase the commitment to these principles. Showcasing LEED factories in COP 26 has attracted attention of leaders from other countries towards Bangladesh market. World leaders and buyers in my opinion are extremely clear that Bangladesh is a top player in the garment industry and the top leader in LEED certified factories. I am sure the business will see new heights in 2022 and 2023
Textile Focus: What is the future plan of USGBC for green digitization? Any plan to onboard buyer for engage green initiative?
Santanu Dutta Gupta: I have already discussed about the arc platform which is a cloud based, digital, open API platform for tracking the real time building performance. This platform has been widely used globally and appreciated by stakeholders and industry leaders. In the upcoming 5 to 10 years as Bangladesh will also be leading in the digital sector, I can see the scope is is huge as far as the digitization is concerned. You cannot improve anything if you cannot measure it. The digital platform is already playing a tremendous role in improving buildings performance. Engineers and facility managers are relying on the analysis provided by by the ARC platform and are taking necessary steps to retrofit existing buildings and thus optimizing their performance.
All market leaders and stakeholders are engaged with us as far as LEED movement is concerned. On a bigger platform fashion brands are closely working with us globally and are creating mandate about LEED for their stakeholders. An example is how the fashion brands are LEED certifying their retail outlets across the world. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you and all our media friends for telling the success stories of LEED factories to the whole world. You are inspiring many other countries to follow these inspiring examples.