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Sustainability should be to protect the rights of all workers and stakeholders

Staff Correspondent: According to the apparel industry experts the main goal of sustainability should be to protect the rights of all workers and stakeholders.They also stated that sustainability is dependent on a variety of factors, not just environmental development.

They were addressed during the fourth edition of the Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) 2023, which was held on Thursday in the capital by the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE).

Peter Haas, the United States of America’s ambassador to Bangladesh, stated in his speech that the US is happy to be the primary destination for Bangladesh’s readymade garment export and that they aim to strengthen this partnership. We want to work with everyone and the RMG sector is the main actor in the economic transformation of Bangladesh,” he added.

He also urged the manufacturers to protect the labourers as per the law and to ensure access to their rights.

Charles Whiteley, head of the EU Delegation to Bangladesh, said that to attain sustainability, the government, industry and civil society are responsible to carry out their duties.

The RMG sector is one of the main factors in the EU-Bangladesh trade relation. However, the issues of sustainability are now a top issue in Europe, he added.

He also mentioned that Bangladesh has to maintain sustainability to face the challenges in the post-LDC period.

In terms of green transition and compliance, Bangladesh is an example to all and a national action plan is needed to maintain sustainability, he added noting that the EU has legislated due diligence agenda for 2030, for which, a collective initiative will be mandatory for Bangladesh to be competitive.

Chief guest, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said that to drive sustainability in full swing, two things are a must– governmental policy and collective action.

The issue of responsible business and sustainable trade should not be confined to the manufacturer’s level, said Faruque Hassan, President of BGMEA.

Because manufacturers are a part of the supply chain and very individuals within the supply chain has their own roles and responsibility. So, a hand-holding approach is needed to ensure sustainable business environment within the supply chain,” he said urging all stakeholders to put efforts together in a collaborative approach to build a more sustainable and resilient supply chain.

Ranjan Mahtani, executive chairman of Epic Group, Salim Rahman, MD of KDS Group and chairman of Al Arafah Islami Bank and Naureen Chowdhury, head of labour rights of Laudes Foundation also expressed their views on sustainability termed sustainability as a balance between environment and equity.

Mostafiz Uddin, founder of Sustainable Apparel Forum(SAF) said that in the global garment market, sustainability has become a critical component of corporate operations, enabling businesses to establish a long-lasting presence. 

The forum hosted four plenary sessions on climate action, circular economy in Bangladesh’s textile and apparel industry, renewable energy and human rights. The forum concludes with panel sessions, one roundtable discussion, nine presentations, and a highlighedt event—the Green Growth Exhibition.

Event partners were- Laudes Foundation, KDS Group, PDS Limited, Epic Group, Noize Jeans, International Labour Organization (ILO)- Better Work Bangladesh, WaterAid Bangladesh, Oxfam in Bangladesh, Ministry of Commerce, U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh, Delegation of the European Union in Bangladesh, Embassy of Denmark in Bangladesh, Embassy of Sweden in Bangladesh, UNIDO, USAID Bangladesh, Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), ICCCAD, IDCOL, GIZ, The Apparel Impact Institute, Good Fashion Fund, Enviu, Fashion for Good, SLCP, Circle Economy, Global Labor Institute, Sourcing Journal USA, H&M Group, Bestseller, YKK Corporation, Spinnova PLC, Standard Chartered, Eastern Bank Limited.

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