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ZDHC new milestone to lead convergence of brand programs for reducing complexity

ZDHC announced its next milestone for 2022, 2025 and 2030. By 2020, initiatives and brands program will be converged through which ZDHC is spearheading the convergence of brand programs to reduce complexity, minimize duplication, avoid confusion and enhance the speed and scale.

Figure 1: ZDHC conference emphasizes stakeholders’ partnership to phase out hazardous chemicals.

By 2025, ZDHC will expand its organization and create an infrastructure in other relevant textiles regions including Europe, Africa, Asia and America. By 2030, ZDHC wants to ensure its safeguards a supply chain free form hazardous chemicals. Their work will be cemented and will be considered as normal business practices rather than best practice.

These announcements came at a grand conference hosted by the ZDHC South Asia region with the theme ‘Leading Transformation Through Sustainable Chemical Management’ at The Radisson Blu Hotel in Dhaka on February 12, 2020. Frank Michel, Executive Director of ZDHC, announced these in his note on ‘ZDHC 2030: Moving from a finite to an infinite program’.

The event was for delegates from apparel and footwear brands, textile and leather facilities and chemical companies to understand the vision of ZDHC behind 2020, the role of clean inputs and innovation in production and learn about managing manufacturing towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals.


Through a few panel discussions and presentations by experts as well as sharing of experiences and success stories, participants enriched their knowledge and generated ideas in their journey towards sustainable chemical management.

In the welcome message Prasad Pant, South Asia Director of ZDHC, said, “We are overwhelmed by the tremendous response to this first conference in Bangladesh from ZDHC. It shows that the stakeholders in the region are not only positively inclined towards the ZDHC program but also ready to hasten its implementation.”

Mohammad Hatem, 1st Vice President of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) and Managing Director of MB Knit Fashion Ltd, said, “Unethical buying practice is needed to be stopped. Otherwise, we cannot sustain and we will face difficulties to implement ZDHC, bluesign®, etc.”

He emphasized to take the initiative to implement the 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) method, also mentioned CPP dyeing as a solution to reduce pollution.

Engr. Md. Shafiqur Rahman, President of the Institution of Textile Engineers and Technologists (ITET), said, “Hazardous and toxic chemicals can harm the environment severely. Already the world is becoming uncomfortable for human beings and other animals. Bangladeshi investors have invested a lot of money to be sustainable.”

He thanked ZDHC and Next Sourcing Ltd for launching the pioneer pilot project to implement the ZDHC framework in Hams Group.

Figure 2: Frank Michel, Executive Director of ZDHC

Dr. Ayub Nabi Khan, Pro Vice-Chancellor, BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT), opined, “Education can be a powerful weapon to change the world.”

Md. Mohiuddin Rubel, BGMEA Director stressed the importance of meaningful partnership among stakeholders including brands, suppliers and development partners to phase out toxic chemicals from the supply chain.

He also appreciated the support of ZDHC partner brands for their continuous support and said this initiative contributes to protecting the natural environment and human health.

Frank Michel said, from 2020 onwards, we transform ourselves from a finite ‘ZDHC program’ to an infinite ‘Roadmap to zero Program.”

Figure 3: Frank Michel, Executive Director of ZDHC, shows ZDHC program connectivity.

He showed the ‘ZDHC Leader program’ where he informed that 76 percent of ZDHC’s signatory brands implemented the wastewater guideline, according to the Leader Program Assessment, whereas 100 percent is committed to using the ZDHC MRSL and the ZDHC wastewater guideline by the Signatory Brand Leader Program.

Frank Michel showed MRSL Version 2. 0 that included MRSL, candidate list and archive substances.


Defining sustainability as “Sharing benefits” Mostafiz Uddin, Managing Director of Denim Expert Ltd, said in his keynote address, “Sustainability means to me is a win-win situation for my workers, buyers, suppliers and for the all stakeholders. He emphasized on taking responsibility by all stakeholders to ensure sustainability.

“After Rana Plaza incident that put our image down in the world, we rapidly grow and today Bangladesh is an example all over the world with Accord’s 84% rating (for building) and Alliance 91 rating (for fire),” he explained.

Bangladesh-RMG-progress-made after the Rana Plaza collapse
Figure 4: Mostafiz Uddin, Managing Director of Denim Expert Ltd, highlighted Bangladesh’s progress that were made after the Rana Plaza collapse.

In the session ‘Conversation with CEOs: Transforming our industry for worker and environmental protection’ Mahbub Alam Chowdhury, Executive Director of Masco Group, said, “Manufacturers are alone, not capable to ensure sustainability, here all stakeholders–the chemical manufacturers, brands and retailer– need to be aligned. Different guidelines are making us tired. Only 30 brands are aligned, so collaboration is a must.”

Without a collaborative approach, ZDHC is not possible to be implemented properly. We need to harmonize all the chemical and apparel manufacturers, brands and retailers, solution providers to have a common MRSL-RSL guidelines to implement during manufacturing and after manufacturing, he further said.

Figure 5: In the session ‘Presentations: Managing a dye-house towards zero impact’ many innovative stories have come out.

2022 Convergence announcement by ZDHC says initiatives and brand programs will be convergence. Through this collaboration, ZDHC will reduce complexity, minimize duplication, avoid confusion and enhance the speed and scale that help the textile industry for sure to come up from recent complexity.

Prasad Pant and Dipankar Bose, ZDHC explained in ‘Input chemical management: ZDHC MRSL V 2.0 and the ZDHC Gateway’ session about ZDHC MRSL Version 2.0 and the ZDHC Gateway.

ZDHC Gateway, an online platform for manufacturing facilities to search MRSL conformant products and make informed decisions on their input chemical inventory. The platform has a database of MRSL conformant products uploaded by chemical companies and verified through third-party certification.

Prasad Pant said that more than 25% of the chemicals produced in the world are used in textile production at some stage. A lot of these chemicals have a negative impact on human health and the environment.

He announced that “No level Zero (0) will remain from 2020”.  This initiative will widen the scope of implementation and deepen implementation in various geographical regions.

Figure 6: Prasad Pant, South Asia Director of ZDHC, gave the welcome message.

In the 1st panel discussion on ‘Role of clean inputs to achieve clean outputs’ Johny Kanta, General Manager, Hohenstein opined, “We have to stand with the clean input that will lead into clean output.”

However, Dr. Siva Rama Kumar Pariti, Senior Technical marketing Officer, Sustainable Textiles Solutions (STS) mentioned ‘process’ as a very much important part to be concentrated. “Process in between input and output is very much important. The process should be maintained sustainably.”

Mizanur Rahman, Head of EHS and Sustainability at Denimach was highlighting a problem that some challenges they face, probably all textile factories face, in sustainable chemical management is that who is buying chemical is not aware of MRSl and RSL lists.

“It is tough to remember also as each brand has its own RSL/MRSL lists. So, unique MRSL and RSL lists are important as well as purchasing officers need to have proper knowledge of RSL and MRSL lists.”

In the 2nd panel discussion on ‘Can we achieve clean water and air in textile and leather production or will it be a dream?’ Dr. Mohidus Khan from BUET emphasized to create skilled manpower. He said, “Skilled manpower is very much essential as to operate ETP we need people who have enough technical knowledge on it. So, train up our manpower is a must.”

In the session of ‘Presentations: Managing a dyehouse towards zero impact’ Hasib Uddin, Chairman, APS Group, told their story to managing a dyehouse towards zero impact.

APS Group started the water-saving revolution from 2012 for the first time in Bangladesh, now it has become an example to the world. “It is not rocket science, it is just awareness and willingness of being changed. Any dye-house who has an exhaust-dyeing process can easily dye a batch within 35 liters by following this,” said Hasib Uddin.

He informed that every year they are saving BDT57.64 million by applying the method they invented. ‘No investment is required, only one need to adopt the concept and rinsing method,” he explained.

In the concluding note Tareq Amin, CEO and Publisher of Textile Today thanked ZDHC and said, “Today in Dhaka, ZDHC has set the tone of the way forward transforming itself from a finite ‘ZDHC program’ to an infinite ‘Roadmap to Zero program’.”

“ZDHC has made rapid progress since the Greenpeace Detox campaign surface in 2011-12. It has grown from a brand-led initiative to a multi-stakeholder program, which continues to cover the textile, leather and footwear industry’s approach to chemical management to reduce duplication in the market,” he expressed.

Tareq Amin-at-ZDHC-regional-conference-2020
Figure 7: Tareq Amin, CEO and Publisher of Textile Today.

Thanking the suppliers Tareq Amin said, “I see the chemical suppliers as the player in giving the right input. The gateway now is having a good number of chemicals. Now it is the time to grow up in the level ‘0’ to ‘3’.

Acknowledging to the factories he said, “The manufacturing factories who are integrating all the resources to transform into the right output. Most of the time, the burden of cost left to the factories requiring to comply.”

Tareq Amin hoped the ‘Implementation Hub’ will be helpful for the factories to generate benefits effectively.

Thanking the brands, he urged all the brands to keep their commitment like H&M and C&A as implementation and capacity building of factories become affordable.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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