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Tex Talk Panel discussion on “Sustainability in Textile Industry- Reality & Challenges”

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Farzana Alam Piya

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Key note presentation by Maeen Md. Khairul Akter, Managing Editor of Textile Focus

Textile Focus & RedCarpet 365 Ltd. successfully organized their regular event “Tex Talk” on “Sustainability in Textile Industry- Reality & Challenges “, on November 17, 2018 at International Convention City Bashundhara, Dhaka. This was held on the 03rd day of BIGTEX, BIGFAB & Dyes Chem Exhibition which was organized by RedCarpet 365 Ltd. The panel discussion was moderated by M A Islam Riyadh, Editor of Textile Focus while the key note was presented by Maeen Md. Khairul Akter, Managing Editor of Textile Focus and Lecturer, Department of Textile Engineering Management, Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTex) had a presentation on “Sustainability in Textile Industry- Reality & Challenges”. Distinguished guests Faruque Hassan, Senior Vice President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA);  Md. Hatem, Former Vice President, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA) ;  Engr. Md. Shafiqur Rahman, President, The Institution of Textile Engineers & Technologist (ITET);  Muhammad Farhad Hossain, Owner & Managing Director,  Bengal Technology & Engineering Associates (BTE); Mr. Chandima Punyawardana, Director, Redox Chemical Industries Ltd. were present as panel discussion members. Engr. Abrar A Apu, Coordinator, Textile Focus Technical Team coordinated the session. Textile Focus shares the key discussions of the event bellow for our readers.

 We are tremendously improving our industry

-Faruque Hassan, Senior Vice President, BGMEA

img_1863Mr. Faruque Hassan mentioned that Bangladesh textile industry is moving ahead to sustainable developments. He shared his experience regarding what sorts of difficulties the industry owners are facing. Bangladesh is moving forward to sustainability in a balanced way. Already we have taken a vision of achieving 50 billon dollars from apparel export in 2021, at the celebration of 50 years of our independence. It is not so easy for us, but we are trying. We are shifting our industries out of Dhaka. But the challenge is to manage land and other infrastructures. We are upgrading our machines as well as our processes. We also have scopes for new market, scopes for man-made fiber. We are investing in research & development, upgrading our technologies. But nobody wants to pay the price. We need continuous support from our brands and stake holders. Ultimately we all are the beneficiaries of RMG sector. Bangladesh is a remarkable example for Green Industry. We are rapidly improving our industry in all respects regarding infrastructure, skill man power, latest technology, relevant training and development, compliance issues. What we need now is the proper cooperation from all stake holders, governments, workers, suppliers, trade bodies. Still we have crisis for electricity, gas. But we need to ensure the best efficiency to produce more with limited resources.

We are in pressure of low price

– Md. Hatem, Former Vice President, BKMEA

img_1878Mr. Md. Hatem mentioned that industry owners are investing a lot but they are not getting the price. Last 5 years, all the buyers has decreased their prices up to 20-30%. In such a situation, how can we survive and how can we reach our goal of Sustainability? Recently salary increase will be a big challenge for the industry and many small industry will suffer a lot to adjust their costing and order prices. After the Rana Plaza incident every buyer advised to go for infrastructure developments and they will contribute on that. But in reality they did not contribute rather they are decreasing the order price.  Now it is a challenge for us to continue our sustainable developments. We will have to go for more value added products. Despite of using the best technology, we do not get the best products from the best technology. So we need skilled and innovative textile engineers. Lead-time is a big factor for our industry. We are suffering from Chittagong port consignment. We are talking about deep sea port for a long time which can be helpful to reduce our lead time.

Skill development is the key factor to growth rate!

-Engr Md. Shafiqur Rahman, President, ITET

img_1896Engr. Md. Shafiqur Rahman shared his observation about the areas we need to work for sustainable development. He mentioned that it may be matter of great proud to all of us that, Bangladesh is contributing 6.5% of the total RMG export. But considering it globally, the contribution of Bangladesh seems very poor. The main challenge to reach our goal to export 50 billion dollar is the skill of the middle and lower level workers. In spite of having a huge number of workers, our productivity is half. Because our workers are not well-skilled. Government has taken steps to establish many textile institutions to frame skilled man power. Besides that, higher management skills is also significant as the productivity depends on it. By the same time we need to improve our negotiation skill. Every supplier is asking very high rate and if we can negotiate the rate perfectly we can save a lot. We also think to alternative of manufacturing machineries and chemicals of our own so that we can minimize the cost. We have done a remarkable development in knitting, we are also increasing in woven. We need to develop diversified products and new markets.

Modern technology is focusing on sustainability

Muhammad Farhad Hossain, Owner & Managing Director, Bengal Technology & Engineering Associates

img_1903Muhammad Farhad Hossain shared his experience on selling technologically advanced machineries to the industry. Modern machineries are not only used for quality production but also for cost optimization. Innovative machineries can add some qualities, features to the product. 10 years back, the industry owners used cheap machines that caused high energy loss, high water consumption and environment pollution. Earlier it required 300 liter water to dye one KG cloth but now we can do that only with 50 liter. Regular research and development are in process to make the textile processing more ecofriendly and sustainable. The main thing is that sustainability will not come with money, it will come with ecology, environment, resources, water & energy.

99.9% chemicals used in Bangladesh are toxic free

– Chandima Punyawardana, Director, Redox Chemical Industries Ltd. 

img_1916Mr. Chandima Punyawardana shared his perception about the sustainability of the chemicals used in Bangladesh. He mentioned that, there was a pressure from many brands for toxic free textile industry. Now the 99.9% chemicals used in Bangladesh are APEO, APO, AZO free. Again, now all the chemicals & dye stuffs are using the same label. There are so many developments are happening in textile processing chemicals and ingredients which is based on sustainable issue. The important thing is the mind set up in every step of textile processing and it’s not a matter of only dyes and chemicals. As a manufacturer we are to redefine our equipment which are very expensive and we are investing on that to save the chemical quantity, water, energy and time.

One stop solution provider channel is required for sustainable development

M A Islam Riyadh, Editor, Textile Focus

20181102163438_img_0477Moderator M A Islam Riyadh summed up the panel discussion session saying that, together we can win. He mentioned that, the history of Bangladesh textile industry is not to long comparing with the history of other countries. We have done a very rapid growth within a very short time. The way we are moving is significant. What we need to continue the sustainable growth is to focus on value addition and quality up-gradation in all areas. Government should announce a one stop solution hub to support the industry so that all stake holders of the industry can get extra privilege to invest further and expand the projects with sustainable goals. Brands, owners, workers, stake holders also have to come forward. He thanked all the panel members for sharing the new scopes, challenges and the path to overcome those challenges for a sustainable textile industry. He thanked Textile Focus & Red Carpet 365 Ltd. team for organizing such an informative program. The panel discussion session ended with the group photo session and crest handover.