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SAF guiding industry how to step towards sustainability

The second edition of Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) is being held in Dhaka today on 5 November with the objective of accelerating the momentum of sustainability in Bangladesh apparel industry.

More than 50 speakers from 20 countries in 5 panel discussions of the SAF on issues critical to sustainability such as Human, Transparency, Water, Purchasing Practice and Climate Change- are sharing their perspectives.

With the discussion of the SAF a ‘Sustainability Roadmap’ is going to be formulated.

“‘The sustainability Roadmap’ will provide clear guidelines to the industry to add pace to the sustainability movement. The progresses of the roadmap will also be followed up in next editions of the SAF,” said Mostafiz Uddin, Founder and CEO, Bangladesh Apparel Exchange.

Figure 1: Benoit Pre´fonatine, High Commissioner, Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh.

Additionally, the conference will host several knowledge building technical presentations from renowned organizations which will cover different issues relating to sustainability, including waste management, protection of the environment and better working conditions.

In the ‘Opening Plenary’ chief guest M Atiqul Islam, Mayor, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and former BGMEA President said, “We are very much committed for our workers, for their wellbeing, for their dignity and for their safety.”

Without sustainability no business can achieve good prospect. In this aspect, Bangladesh is maintaining socially and environmentally sustainable apparel business, he said.

Figure 2: The second edition of Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) is being held in Dhaka today on 5 November.

Bangladesh is one of the lowest carbon emitting countries in the world. We are leading in green industrialization. Bangladesh has highest number of green industries around the world, he added.

Bangladesh is doing tremendous progress and it needs to continue its progress, said Pierre Borjesson, Head of Sustainability, Global Production, H&M.

While he was addressing sustainability, he mentioned that Bangladesh ground water is going down day by day, which is alarming. He suggested to be cautious about natural resources.

Figure 3: Pierre Borjesson, Head of Sustainability, Global Production, H&M.

Everybody talks about problems, but need to talk about the solutions, collaboration how we can come together to find out the solution, he added.

This year’s SAF promises to be the largest yet. “The title for this year’s Sustainable Apparel Forum is enabling sustainability through policy and leadership. The time for talking on sustainability issues is over. It is now time for actions. That’s why the focus of this year’s show is on practical, pragmatic actions the textile industry can adopt to improve its environmental footprint,” said Mostafiz Uddin.

This will be an international convening to discuss Bangladesh’s actions to be a key player to make sustainable apparel industry a reality. Based on the convening, a series of recommendations will be made, and a sustainability roadmap for the Bangladesh apparel industry will be formulated.

The conference will be followed by showcasing different innovative, sustainable and good work practices in RMG manufacturing factories in Bangladesh.

Speakers at the forum include Tipu Munshi, MP, Commerce Minister, Bangladesh; Dr. Tawfiq-E-Elahi Chowdhury, energy adviser to prime minister Bangladesh; Shahriar Alam, MP, State Minister, ministry of foreign affairs, Bangladesh; Benoit Pre´fonatine High Commissioner, high commission of Canada to Bangladesh; Harry Verweij, Ambassador of Netherlands to Bangladesh; Winnie Estrup Petersen, Ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh; Charlotta Schlyter, Ambassador of Sweden to Bangladesh.

Industry experts speaking at the forum amongst others are Dr. Rubana Huq, President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association; Sheikh Fazle Fahim, President, Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industries; Han Bekke, president, International Apparel Federation (IAF); Jill Tucker, Head of Labour Rights Programme, C&A Foundation; Pierre Börjesson, Head of Sustainability – global production, H&M Group; Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director, International Labor Organization; Peter McCallister, Executive Director, Ethical Trading Initiative.

The second SAF is being organized by Bangladesh Apparel Exchange where Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association is the co-organizer. The Embassy of Netherlands is the title sponsor of the event while H&M is ‘In Association With’ partner and Better Work Bangladesh and C&A Foundation are partners in the event.

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