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Global conference in Boston addresses ‘Sustainability’ in Bangladesh

Government representatives, garment manufacturers, clothing brands, labor organizations and other key affiliates gathered in Boston last weekend to address the Bangladesh apparel industry’s environmental state at a conference titled ‘Sustainable Models for the Bangladesh Apparel Industry.’ Held at Harvard University, the third-annual day-long event focused on building a greener model for the Bangladesh apparel sector. This will help put the nation in a competitive place while supporting supply chain workers.

Speakers emphasized that for Bangladesh to compete in the global apparel market it must maintain cost-efficiency and comply with employees’ health and safety standards. The discussion recommended improving stakeholder relationships and increasing sustainability in the industry.

Economic adviser of the Bangladesh prime minister Mashiur Rahman inaugurated the conference with a keynote speech about the garment industry’s compliance and sustainability progress. He informed his audience that the Bangladesh government was working with international partners to achieve many initiatives including improving workers’ rights and reducing carbon footprint.

Amy McGann, foreign affairs officer at the US Department of State, noted that the American government will re-evaluate its GSP designation for Bangladesh if it meets all compliance and sustainability requirements. Highlighting the country’s economic potential, World Bank economist Yevgeniya Savchenko said that the nation could easily take market share away from other Asian nations if it makes progress on garment safety and sustainability.

Shawkat Aziz Russell, VP, Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), ended the discussion by noting that the country’s old factories have been upgraded to meet compliance initiatives. He also said that although resource access is still challenging, new factories are more environmentally-friendly and safe for workers.

Four panels were also held to address environmentally-friendly solutions which included supply chain compliance and the need for fair price strategy and shared responsibility, trade policy and worker’s rights, strategies for environmental sustainability development. A roadmap for the Bangladesh apparel industry to achieve $50 billion in sales by 2021 was also unveiled.