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Environmental sustainability in Bangladesh RMG industry

The article has been written based on the keynote speech ‘Environmental compliance-Expectation and reality, in terms of sustainability’ delivered by Mohammad Monower Hossain, Senior Deputy Secretary, Environment Cell, BGMEA at the ‘First National Compliance Carnival-2018’.

Introduction

Sustainability in RMG business operation is an evolving issue for Bangladeshi entrepreneurs after Tazreen and Rana Plaza incidents. Bangladesh RMG industry, the main catalyst for the country’s economy, is blamed by the buyer for lack implementation of sustainability issues in the factories.  Environmental sustainability is the most important and emerging issue at the present phase of industrialization, which is considered as a burning issue. In this regard, nowadays apparel buyers are focusing on the eco-friendly way of production.

Bangladesh RMG industry needs to adopt cleaner and improved technology and management for better environment in order to achieve its goals. Considering the buyers demand and requirements, industry owners have set priority to implement the guidelines from the world renowned organizations for eco-friendly production.

Figure: Now Bangladesh RMG industry is focusing on environmental sustainability for eco-friendly production.
Figure: Now Bangladesh RMG industry is focusing on environmental sustainability for eco-friendly production.

The goals of sustainable developments are cleaner water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, industry innovation infrastructure, climate action and responsible consumption and production. Environmental sustainability consists of energy usage, water usage and chemical storage and handling.

Environmental cost in apparel supply chain

The apparel industry has various impacts to the environment. It is polluting the environment in many ways. Environmental pollutions are wastewater discharge, solid and hazardous discharge, air emission and nuisances. According to Mohammad Momower Hossain, environmental impact of textiles and the clothing supply chain is as below:

Sustainable

Achieving environmental sustainability in RMG industry

Sustainable manufacturing framework required to achieve environmental sustainability for green earth. It can achieve by following below ways:

Resources efficiency

Energy efficiency → Reducing energy usage → Maximize alternative energy resources

Water efficiency → Reducing water usage → Maximize alternative water supply

Material efficiency → Optimizing material flow and usage → Manage inventory and procurement

Emission reduction

Below steps require for emission reduction:

  • Control and reduce environmental flow
  • Implement and apply waste management hierarchy
  • Handle, store, treat and dispose appropriate
  • Prevent ground water and land contaminations
  • Account for carbon emissions
  • Reduce carbon emission

Improving management practices

Effective environmental management system, enhance auditing and environmental monitoring performance and comply with environmental systems are essential to improve management pracrices.

On the other hand, for sustainability improvement below things are needed:

  • environmental decision making
  • Implement industrial clustering and resource pooling
  • Undertaking risk assessment (environmental and business)
  • Identify, develop and implement business cases for sustainability improvement

Bangladesh RMG industry practice to achieve environmental sustainability

Bangladesh RMG industry owners are very much concern about business sustainability. Compliance factories are implementing a numbers of best practices to improve their efficiency and sustainability. Some best practices are:

  • Rain water harvesting
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (3R) of water
  • Cogeneration
  • Condensate recovery boiler
  • Water efficient dyes and chemicals
  • Use of renewable energy (solar panel)
  • Prismatic skylight
  • T5 and LED light
  • Sustainability reporting and etc.

Conclusion

Sustainability has a broader aspect than compliance. Bangladesh RMG industry needs a comprehensive strategy to be sustainable for environmental issues. Both industry owners and policy-makers need to understand the global impact of production and consumption patterns. Sustainability has to be evolved within the industry, which is not as print rather than a marathon.

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