According to a new study by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Global Report Initiative (GRI) showed that only 6% of Bangladeshi garment factories have accepted new business models or innovative plans to integrate sustainability in a post-COVID-19-pandemic recovery.
Through a virtual program at a hotel in Dhaka 47 factories whose owners have presented certificates for “extraordinary performance in sustainability.”
Experiencing the worst of times in the COVID-19’s outcomes prompted RMG factories to improve efficiency, reduce the cost of production and business management and accomplish more sustainable supply chains.
Some 42% said to goal to reduce energy, waste and resource consumption in the next 3 years by 2 to 15 percent and greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption every year by 5 to 25 percent.
Some 34% have either a “reuse” or “recycle” practice for waste.
Some 98 percent said to have an environmental complaint mechanism system in place, 6 percent of which said to have taken instant action on receiving complaints about the disposal of solid waste in local waters.
Another 15 percent said to have used recycled water in production or sanitation facilities and 23% used rainwater harvesting for gardening, car washing, or sanitation facilities.
A 91 percent use borewell water while 32 percent sourcing it from municipality set-up.
The RMG factories claim to discharge water from effluent treatment plants on testing parameters as per the ZDHC guidelines including hydrogen levels, chemical and biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended and dissolved solids, temperature and color.
The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) program has been taken up by a group of apparel and footwear brands and retailers to lead the fashion industry towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals.
Some 9 percent demanded to discharge treated water in rivers and the rest into sewer lines.
The data showed that all participants had an environmental management system and reduced plastic consumption by an average of 30 percent in the past three years.
Rubana Huq, President, BGMEA presented the certificates and Zuena Aziz, principal coordinator (SDG affairs) at the Prime Minister’s Office, and Sudipto Mukerjee, resident representative of UNDP Bangladesh, also spoke.