The idea was that BGMEA and BUFT by the end of the Step Up and Step Up+ projects would promote and advocate for strategic CSR and the business case for the same as following the global CSR guidelines is fundamental in doing business in future.
BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT) organized a high-level roundtable discussion on ‘Building a common vision for an inclusive and sustainable readymade garments sector of Bangladesh’ as the closing event of the Step Up+ project on November 13, 2018, at Six Seasons Hotel, at Gulshan, Dhaka.
The Step Up+ partnership between BUFT and the Danish partners Dansk Mode and Textil (DM&T), Confederation of Danish Enterprise, Danish Fashion Institute and Sociability, have focused on building the capacity of BUFT faculties for integration of CSR in existing BUFT curricula for supporting the future leadership of the RMG sector in adopting responsible business practices.
By means of strengthening the capacities of BUFT faculties and cementing these learnings by incorporating CSR strategically into the curricula across the BUFT courses and programs; it will spark a sectorial development towards enhanced responsible business practice and sector-wide awareness. This can also inform dialogue about the business case for CSR and responsible business development among key sector stakeholders.
The Step Up+ project wanted to enforce cross-sectorial discussions on the business case for productivity improvements and Strategic CSR, acknowledging the pro-active approach in the global guidelines for responsible business practices as fundamental in assuring sustainable business in future.
The idea was that BGMEA and BUFT by the end of the Step Up and Step Up+ projects respectively would promote and advocate for strategic CSR and the business case for the same. Including that the competencies and capabilities to drive this agenda in the sector can be secured from future university candidates to be employed in the sector.
Attending as chief guest Md. Siddiqur Rahman, President of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said, “Advanced knowledge, critical thinking, and cross-sector dialogues among stakeholders are the key elements for a sustainable RMG sector in Bangladesh.”
He also praised BUFT’s continuous emphasize on CSR education.
Muzaffar U. Siddique, Founder Chairman of the Board of Trustees of BUFT, who was present as the special guest at the closing event, said that this project has successfully contributed to the legacy.
Finally, Prof. Dr. Ayub Nabi Khan and Elizabeth Boye, CEO of Sociability Denmark handed over the certificates and awards to the thirteen participating BUFT faculties.
CEO Elizabeth Boye, of Sociability Denmark, expressed that, “firms are benefiting from the growth and innovation opportunities that are presented by integrating corporate responsibility strategically in the core business strategy, the business operations, and procedures. CSR is strategic when the CSR interventions hence contribute to the development of the business as well as the society.”
She also added, CSR is absolutely not complicated, it is a matter of building management systems and procedures to mitigate negative impacts and be responsive proactively. This is opposed to using loads of resources on preparing for audits, that is a reactive process, that risk does not benefit your business much. Building management systems is not more complicated. It is a continuous development process and it is not expected to be done overnight. It will be fruitful to do it in collaboration with the buyers, because it is expected that every company adopt this proactive approach. It seems to be the only way of doing business in the future. Consumers want responsibly produced garments, which is an invitation to adopt responsible business practices sooner than later to secure your business in the future.
Building management systems for Responsible Business Development is the future of business. It is not complicated, but applying the right tools and approaches assists you in doing it efficiently in ways that make it payback.
In addition, the need for diversification in a sector with excessive production of basic items seems obvious and needed to stay in business in future.
Similarly, there is a call for cross-sector dialogue to solve the issues standing in the way for responsible business development. These are issues of common concern, not the responsibility of single companies.
Prof. Dr. Engr. Ayub Nabi Khan, Acting Vice-Chancellor of BUFT, Soren Albertsen, Sector Counselor of Danish Embassy to Bangladesh, Thomas Klausen, CEO of Danish Fashion & Textile (DM&T) and Nikolai Klausen, Director of WEAR, were also present as special guests. CEO Elizabeth Boye of Sociability Denmark was the keynote speaker of the event.