Sustainability reporting for textile garment corporations

Dr. Mohammad Abbas Uddin,   Ctext FTI     
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It has been long and eventful year 2016, where textile and garment sector saw an enormous growth and with an expectation to take over China (hopeful!) and be the ‘Leader’.

Globally the apparel market is facing various uncertainty. In the UK after Brexit and fall of pound sterling there is a concern in the export in EU market. The change in shopping strategy by customer to purchase products from online and increasing share of online retailers created a huge gap in margin for the traditional powerhouse of retailers and brands. Sourcing of products is also trying to shift to other countries such as in Ethiopia, Myanmar etc. to take advantage of trade deals. In addition, environmental sustainability is getting more attention due to the campaign of activist organisations such as Greenpeace to promote zero discharge of hazardous chemicals or making a condition by the brands to follow Higg Index or Business Environment Performance Initiative (BEPI) to be followed by the manufacturers.

Figure: This is the time to publish sustainability report voluntarily by the textile and garment companies of Bangladesh who particularly have a long term vision.
Figure: This is the time to publish sustainability report voluntarily by the textile and garment companies of Bangladesh who particularly have a long term vision.

As Bangladesh is hoping to take the role of leader in apparel export and because it always plagued with some bad form of publicity every now and then, perhaps this is the time to publish sustainability report voluntarily by the textile and garment companies who particularly have a long term vision. This will help to go beyond the mandatory requirements by brands to do something minimum.

In its basic form, a sustainability report portrays organization’s environmental and social performance. Sustainability reporting has emerged as a common practice of the modern business. The benefits of this reporting will be

  • Commitment and transparency to the social and environmental cause
  • A pioneer among the similar organizations locally and globally
  • Better reputation with increasing brand value
  • Meeting the expectation of stakeholders and employees
  • Improved access of funds and capitals
  • Increased resource efficiency and reduction of waste

Sustainability reporting requires factories to gather information about processes and impacts that may not have looked into or measured before. This new information can assist companies knowledge necessary to reduce their use of natural resources, increase efficiency and improve their operational performance.

For reporting to be as useful as possible for companies, a unified standard that allows reports to be quickly assessed, fairly judged and simply compared is a critical asset. As firms worldwide have embraced sustainability reporting, the most widely adopted framework has been the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Framework.

A commitment and focus on sustainability will help garment and textile organizations to highlight their achievements from a third party reporting, which then can be used as to create a long term planning and trust from the buyers. This report can prepare companies to avoid mitigate social and environmental risks that may have financial viability of the business.

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