Known for cheap and basic garment production, Bangladesh is now drawing the attention of global buyers for high end items, especially in the denim segment. Global brands have started exploring the sourcing potential of hand-loom denim fabrics dyed with natural indigo from Bangladesh. In recent years, a few companies have started cultivating natural indigo and this indigo is mainly used in dyeing high quality, handmade products for high end and luxury markets.
Denim made on hand-loom is softer than mill made denim, has a unique texture and breathes well and helps feel cool in summer and retain body warmth in winter. After cutting and collection of indigo leaves, they are soaked in a tank to produce oxidized slurry, which is later boiled, sun-dried and made into vats. Organic cotton and natural indigo dye are being used for producing the hand-loom denim fabric.
Sustainable fashion companies in Germany are among the buyers that are currently working with a local company to produce hand-woven indigo denim fabric. Natural indigo is growing better in Bangladesh compared with other countries.
Production of ecological jeans has begun in Bangladesh. One instance is handloom selvedge denim fabric. Denim fabric with self-binding edges on both ends, running along the complete length of the fabric, is known as selvedge denim. Though the sampling development part is done outside Bangladesh, there is a possibility of stitching the finished products locally.
Seminar on ‘Greening RMG as CSR in Bangladesh’
The High Commission of Canada in Bangladesh and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has held a seminar on ‘Greening RMG as CSR in Bangladesh’.
The seminar, held at BGMEA Apparel Club recently, focused on the ‘green’ efforts in Bangladesh’s readymade garment (RMG) sector as part of corporate social responsibility or CSR.
Participants welcomed the opportunity to exchange views on greening RMG and share their experiences. The seminar covered four topics to take a green approach in a RMG factory.
Presentations were given on Step By Step Approach to Achieve Green Status, Green Energy and Features in Green Building, Health and Safety in RMG for Improve Performance, University Shaping up Future Graduates for Greening RMG Industry. Siddiqur Rahman, President BGMEA highlighted the vision of the industry to export $50 billion by 2021, and opined that greening approach can help the industry to achieve the goal. Canadian diplomat Benoit Pierre Laramee was present as special guest.
He stressed on the importance of Bangladesh garments entrepreneurs to move up the supply chain by improving productivity, developing skills, improving factory environment, adopting advanced technologies and international standards.
BGMEA’s initiative of preparing a central database for workers is still on
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)’s initiative of preparing a central database for workers is still on. Five years’ since the process began, the final version is yet to be prepared, as many confusion over the number of garment workers as well as garment factories persists. According to some industry sources, the total number of garment workers in Bangladesh is 4.4 million, while others believe the number is 3.5 million. In order to sort this out, the BGMEA decided to accumulate the data way back in 2012.
In the light of the two incidents that took place in Bangladesh – Rana Plaza and Tazreen, BGMEA announced the initiative to update information of all workers working in garment factories in Bangladesh. The association took up the project to collect updated information on garment workers and maintain a database, which would have all the requisite information on the workers. The initiative started had been put on hold for some time, to be restarted by the garment trade body only recently. In this regard, BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman said, “Now, we have restarted the process of making the central database of garment workers. I hope the process is completed very soon. We have put pressure on the member factories to provide information about their workers without further delay.”
According to initial plans, the data were to be collected only from areas where the garment factories are more in number – like Mirpur, Ashulia, Gazipur, Savar, Maona and Narayanganj – where about 60 per cent of the country’s garment factories are located. But now, the association has decided to collect data encompassing garment workers from all over the country.
Bangladesh’s exports are expected to reach $60 billion by 2021
Bangladesh’s exports are expected to reach $60 billion by 2021 coinciding with the country’s 50th independence anniversary. Contributory factors are a dynamic private sector, strong economic foundation and fundamentals and the country’s strategic location.
Current annual exports now stand at over $31 billion and are now increasing at 12.5 per cent a year. The country wants to transform from a labor-reliant economy to a digital one. Sectors in the van are garments, medicine, leather, ship building and information technology.
Employment opportunities will be created for a million youths in the IT sector. It’s estimated, the country will need a few hundred thousand programmers in the next five years. Bangladesh hopes to become a mid-income country by 2021. The targeted growth rate for the current fiscal is seven per cent.
Meanwhile a month-long trade fair is on in Bangladesh. It covers an area of four lakh sq ft. Some of the leading industrial enterprises of Bangladesh and China, Thailand, Iran, and India are taking part in the fair. A number of high profile trade and investment delegations from these countries are visiting the fair to explore trade and investment prospects. India is participating for the fifth time.
Global buyers have cut business relations with 55 readymade garment factories in Bangladesh
Global buyers have cut business relations with 55 readymade garment factories in Bangladesh due to noncompliance. The American group Alliance has suspended business relations with 42 factories. The European retailers’ group Accord has terminated business relations with 13 factories.
These factories have failed to make adequate remediation progress and provide evidence of remediation. Some factories have failed to attend a remediation escalation roundtable and some have failed to provide evidence to comply with the procedures for ensuring a safe working environment.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers, in April 2013, North American retailers, including top brands Walmart and Gap, formed the Alliance, and European retailers formed the Accord, undertaking a five-year plan which set timelines and accountability for inspections and training and workers’ empowerment programs. The Alliance has so far inspected 870 factories while Accord inspected more than 1,600 factories. During inspections both Alliance and Accord found serious structural faults in 106 factories and sent the list of the units to the government-set review committee suggesting immediate evacuation. Out of 106 factories 35 were closed as per recommendations. Suspended factories wishing to get back into the fold have to undergo a new inspection at their own cost.
ILO to expand its Better Work Program
The International Labor Organization is going to expand its Better Work Program to 200 garment factories in Bangladesh. At present, the program is running in 96 factories, where a total of 183,000 workers are employed, the United Nations agency said in a statement. The Better Work Program was introduced in Bangladesh in 2014. The program is a partnership between the ILO and the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, and is currently running in eight countries. Md Mujibul Haque, state minister for labor and employment said that government would welcome Better Work’s approach of seeking to boost industry competitiveness while improving the lives of the workers.
During the two-day conference that began on Sunday, the stakeholders took stock of the progress and discussed the future direction and activities of the initiative. In a short time, the Better Work Program has gained excellent support from the government, workers and employers alike, said Srinivasa Reddy, the country director of ILO. “We look forward to deepening and widening this engagement in the years to come,” he added.
Myanmar and Bangladesh have decided to make a joint effort to appeal for the grant of GSP privilege in the US markets
Leaving aside their mutual refugee issue, Myanmar and Bangladesh have decided to make a joint effort to appeal for the grant of GSP privilege in the US markets. Both countries, given the volume of exports to the US, should enjoy the GSP status in the US markets, but neither enjoy such a privilege.
In this regard, Myanmar has urged Bangladesh to make a joint effort for seeking United States GSP. This was evident when Khine Khine Nwe Rosaline, Secretary General of Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association said during an event in Dhaka, “Now there are many challenges in the world. TTP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is coming. Why don’t we work together? We can fight together for US GSP,” The move is expected as a measure to counter US-led TPP. The interaction on the garment sector networking was part of the Bangladesh German Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (BGCCI) conference on global social responsibility. Myanmar exports $1.8 billion and has set a $10-billion-mark target for the next 10 years, while Bangladesh eyes doubling current exports to $50 billion by 2020.
According to Rosaline, “Working together can ultimately help build good relations between the countries; both countries must be “fully equipped” with proper business rules before embarking on a joint endeavor.” The Rohingya refugee issue has been a long-standing one, with the Myanmarese government denying citizenship to the Muslim minorities, who fled the sectarian violence in the Rakhine province and took shelter in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is looking for a gateway to Southeast Asia through Myanmar, and is now trying to work out an arrangement with its neighbor by setting the refugee issue aside.
YKK Bangladesh Pte Ltd, organized its 10th Global Marketing Forum
YKK Bangladesh Pte Ltd, a member of the world largest Japanese zipper manufacturer YKK Group, organized its 10th Global Marketing Forum. The program was also arranged in Chittagong on the following day to carry on YKK Philosophy ‘The cycle of Goodness’ which means ‘No one prosper without rendering benefit to others’. However, YKK Bangladesh Pte Ltd incorporated in 2000 in Dhaka Export Processing Zone and started production from 2002. Close to 550 leading persons from RMG sectors also attended the program.
This forum conveys information regarding the threats and opportunities of apparels market in the world and also shares the understanding among others for the Global Buyer’s prospect in different aspect for the new era.
‘This forum creates tremendous productive guidelines for the garment manufacturers in our region by highlighting global trends as well as new specifications for the competitive market,’ it added.
More over YKK Bangladesh has taken the initiative to increase production capacity gradually, will be near about double Y’20, also established R&D function and limited plating facility, plan to increase gradually.
Productivity & Skill major concern of Bangladesh RMG
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alison Blake has said that the skill agenda is vital for Bangladesh as it seeks to keep pace with countries like China and India in the global garment trade and construction industry, the Bangladeshi media has reported.
“With a growing, young population, the country has a great opportunity to drive up productivity and improve the skills of its workforce,” she said at the launch of a project titled ‘Sudokkho’.
The project designs and facilitates private-sector led training for more than 110,000 people from poor and marginalized groups across Bangladesh. “That’s why Sudokkho is a crucial project and why the British government, through UK aid, is very proud to be its lead funder,” Blake said.
Sudokkho, previously known as the Skills and Employment Programme in Bangladesh, is a five-year programme co-financed by UK aid through the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Palladium International is implementing Sudokkho in partnership with Swisscontact and the British Council.
The project’s total budget is £21.63 million (approx. $32 million). Charge d’ Affaires, Switzerland Embassy in Dhaka, Beate K Elsaesser said every year around 2.5 million people enter the labour market in Bangladesh, most of whom get no opportunity to acquire skills required for productive and decent work either in Bangladesh or abroad.
Working with some of the world’s biggest and best-known retailers and industries, including Debenhams, Primark, Lafarge and Berger, the programme seeks to test and scale up market-driven quality skill training models within the readymade garment and construction sectors that will improve workers’ career prospects and earning capacity, as well as improving productivity and efficiency for participating organizations. The programme also works extensively to improve opportunities for women and people from socially and economically disadvantaged groups.
View exchange meeting on safety in RMG industry held at Ctg BGMEA
A view exchange meeting to discuss building and fire safety in the RMG industry was held at the regional office of BGMEA in Chittagong. Honorable State Minister of Labour and Employment Md. Mujibul Haque, MP, attended the program as chief guest while Labour and Employment Sectary Mikail Shipar and Chairman of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) Abdus Salam were present as special guest.
BGMEA President Md. Siddiqur Rahman presided over the meeting where various safeties related issues being faced by garment factories in Chittagong were discussed by different stakeholders.
BGMEA President Md. Siddiqur Rahman urged the State Minister and the Chittagong Development Authority to take necessary steps so that the factories housed in vulnerable establishments in Chittagong can get low-cost loan and other requisite support for relocation to compliant buildings. BGMEA First Vice President Moinuddin Ahmed (Mintu), Vice President Ferdous Perves Bivon, Vice President Md. Ferdous, and Inspector General of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments Syed Ahmed, among others, also attended the program.
Bangladesh ends raw jute export ban
In a major relief for jute exporters, Bangladesh has lifted the ban on export of raw jute four months after imposing it to meet the domestic demand. The Ministry of Textiles and Jute (MOTJ) issued a notice announcing the withdrawal of the ban, which will come into force. An MOTJ official said the ban was being lifted as the supply position of raw jute is now better in the local market. “We had stopped raw jute export to keep its smooth supply in domestic market. Now the situation has improved, so the government has lifted the ban, “she said.
Initially the ban was imposed in November last year for one month to ensure supply of jute-made bags locally for compliance of the Mandatory Jute Packaging Law 2010 (MJPL). As per the law, selective crops like rice, wheat, sugar and maize have to be packaged in jute bags.The lifting of the ban came amid pleas from raw jute exporters as many of them had to delay shipments owing to the ban.
Restrictions on raw jute exports had hurt the exporters badly, said Abdul Quayyum, Secretary of Bangladesh Jute Association adding that many traders could have avoided losses if the government had withdrawn the ban earlier.Only a small number of businessmen would benefit from the move now, he said. “It may be helpful for those who have stock and have orders pending. However, the good thing is that we were at the risk of losing our markets abroad, which can now be retained,” Quayyum said.
BTT International Desk