Lindex is a Swedish fashion chain within the Finnish Stockmann Group. The company has around 5000 employees and approximately 480 stores in 18 markets in the Nordic countries. Recently Kazy Mohammad Iqbal Hossain, South Asia Regional Sustainability Manager, Lindex-HK Ltd shared about sustainability, product diversification & sourcing strength of Lindex with the Textile Focus team.
Textile Focus: How are you observing this COVID-19 pandemic situation for the Bangladesh RMG sector? What is the recent order situation of Lindex?
Kazy Mohammad Iqbal : Challenge, challenge and challenge everywhere. But I am always positive and can see this as an opportunity for improving the ability to survive. Obviously COVID-19 pandemic situation taught Bangladesh RMG sector how to fight with a pandemic. Frankly speaking, I am really surprised to see the success of the factories to tackle the spreading of virus in the workplace at least I can say till today. In the beginning like every other people I have lots of fear, if the virus really spread in the factories then it will be really a mass. However, now I am confident and I believe Bangladesh RMG factories know “how to handle”.
As per the order situation for Lindex, yes there were some challenges here also but as a company, we tried our best to maintain it in the same level. I can easily say the overall business order volume of Lindex was unchanged in last year though there were slight ups and downs but, at the end of the year, it became more or less same as of earlier years. And for sure like all other business entities of the world we will try our best to recover ourselves so can expect some more business in a running year and thereafter.
Textile Focus: As a Swedish fashion brand, how are Index maintaining sustainability in Bangladesh T&A sector?
Kazy Mohammad Iqbal: Sustainability is one of the three must-win areas for Lindex. We are working very closely with our supply chain partner all over the world to improve supplier performance on sustainability. Bangladesh is the most important country for Lindex with regards to sourcing so obviously, our biggest effort to implement sustainability goes to Bangladesh. For Lindex we believe our long-term trusted business relationship with the suppliers is the key to success. I just want to share, in all areas of sustainability, Lindex first chose the Bangladesh market to implement new ideas and once it is succeeding in Bangladesh then go for other production countries. The important reasons for this are confidence, the positive mentality of Bangladesh entrepreneurs and as well as the welcoming behavior of the factory’s middle management who never say “ No”. Here I want to mention that from Lindex we see the clear improvement in the areas of social compliances, so now we are a bit confident and planning for more ambitious sustainability initiative such as “ Taking Climate Action”, etc.
Textile Focus; What is your suggestion to factories on how factories can be more sustainable for making sustainable products?
Kazy Mohammad Iqbal : Three main pillars of sustainability are people, planet and profit. So, if a factory really wants to be sustainable then they have to keep all of these three areas in mind, i.e. taking care of their employees, use natural resources responsibly and improve productivity. And all of these three pillars are very important, none of those can be ignored. However, to me, one of the main reasons for Bangladesh factories not willing to work for sustainability is they do not see any profitability from this. Here my suggestion to a factory is first should start with people that is work to improve the satisfaction of your employee. In an organization where employees are satisfied with their company, they take care of other two areas such as save the resources (by minimizing the waste) and increase profitability. So, if any organization really want to be sustainable then win the heart of your employee then the others.
Textile Focus: What is the business plan of Lindex for the Bangladesh market?
Kazy Mohammad Iqbal: For Lindex Bangladesh is the most important market, on average approximately 45%-50% of Lindex’s total production goes from Bangladesh. So you can easily understand how important Bangladesh is for Lindex! As per as business plan is a concern, we undoubtedly can say that Lindex business in Bangladesh will remain same or I can see there are opportunities for increase. Some of the recent global crises may open the door for Bangladesh to increase the business. However, as always I think the Bangladesh RMG sector should give proper attention to product diversification without which there are little or no rooms for further increasing of Business.