10 May 2022, 20:00
Update : 10 May 2022, 20:35

SAF arranged in Dhaka to accelerate apparel sustainability in post-Covid

DHAKA, May 10, 2022 (BSS) - Policy makers, industry leaders, brands' representatives and fashion campaigners from home and abroad gathered here today to accelerate momentum of sustainability in Bangladesh apparel industry. 

More than 50 speakers as well as 20 green growth exhibitors from over 20 countries participated in the 3rd edition of Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) organized by Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) partnering with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said a press release. 

Ongoing important apparel sustainability issues such as climate action, environmental social and governance (ESG) and green finance, purchasing practices, due diligence and legislation, and circular economy were discussed at the five plenary sessions along with opening and closing plenaries of the SAF. 

Speakers of the SAF include commerce minister Tipu Munshi, MP, Dhaka North City Corporation mayor and former president, BGMEA Md. Atiqul Islam, ambassador and head of delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bangladesh Anne Van Leeuwen, ambassador of Bangladesh to the Kingdom of the Netherlands Riaz Hamidullah, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Faruque Hassan, BKMEA executive president Mohammad Hatem, head of unit for social economy and creative industries, European Commission Anna Athanasopoulou, financial sector and regulatory engagement lead centre for responsible business conduct, OECD Barbara Bijelic, among others. 

The SAF also showcased opportunities for much-needed green financing in the industry.

Founder and CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) Mostafiz Uddin said "At this year's SAF we have brought all the fashion stakeholders under one roof to accelerate the momentum of sustainability in Bangladesh apparel industry, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic which has had immense impact on global apparel supply chain." 

He said "This is high-level networking where it has been discussed how we can turn the needle so that the lofty sustainability goals our industry so often talks about are translated into meaningful, practical actions?"

Md. Atiqul Islam said: "The RMG industry of Bangladesh has been vigilant in ensuring the safety regulations, especially after the disastrous event of Rana Plaza." 

He urged a collaborated approach to ensure more ethical and sustainable industry. 

Anne Van Leeuwen said there has been significant improvements in the apparel industry of Bangladesh as per as safety and sustainability is concerned. However, there is still work to be done to promote sustainability in the sector for which stakeholders' engagement and collaboration is the key, he added. 

Faruque Hassan said today the clothing factories of Bangladesh are not only safer, but also have become more dynamic, modern, energy-efficient and environmentfriendly. 

Mentioning that Bangladesh has the highest number of green garment factories in the world, he said "We believe that sustainability is not a sprint, it's a marathon. We are committed to maintaining the excellence in social and environmental areas which we already achieved, also we focus on upscaling our business capabilities."

Stephanie Theirs-Ratcliffe, Director of European Brands and Retailers, Cotton Council International said "Sustainability is no more an option, it's a must for the fashion industry now. Cotton Council International is working to ensure the supply of sustainable cotton to the industry." 

Md. Mohiuddin Rubel, director of BGMEA and managing director, Bangladesh Apparel Exchange, said the global business landscape has been transformed to a new realism in the recent years and sustainability has become the core area of concern. 

The SAF envisages becoming a global forum on sustainability established in Bangladesh to promote the sustainability agenda within the textile and apparel supply chain, he added.

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