The 3rd edition of Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) organized by Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) partnering with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA) has just closed its doors and brought on stage more than 50 speakers as well as 20 sustainably-focused exhibitors from over 20 countries.

Five plenary sessions on “Demystifying Climate Action”, “Purchasing Practice”, “ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) & Green Finance”, “Closing the Loop: Circular Economy in the Fashion Industry”, and “Due Diligence and Legislation” took place at the SAF.

Top speakers included Tipu Munshi, MP, commerce minister of Bangladesh, and Md. Atiqul Islam, mayor, Dhaka North City Corporation and former president, BGMEA, along with other international politicians, economic experts, managers and representatives from brands and manufacturers.

Senior representatives from globally renowned recycling and renewable energy companies were also in attendance as well as exhibit their sustainability and green technologies, products and solutions at the SAF.

Mostafiz Uddin, Denim Expert Ltd
Photo: Bangladesh Denim Expo
Mostafiz Uddin, Denim Expert Ltd
Founder and CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) Mostafiz Uddin commented: “At this year’s SAF we have brought all the fashion stakeholders under one roof to accelerate the momentum of sustainability in Bangladesh apparel industry, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic which has had immense impact on global apparel supply chain. This event offered a high-level networking opportunity where it has been discussed how the lofty sustainability goals our industry so often talks about can be translated into meaningful, practical actions?”

TSO has selected some key statements trying to answer Uddin’s challenging questions.

“Bangladesh government is committed to ensuring sustainable growth of Bangladesh apparel industry. I will try my best to help Bangladesh make the transition into a sustainable future,” Tipu Munshi, MP, commerce minister of Bangladesh.

“Promoting Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) in Bangladesh apparel industry is not one party’s cup of tea anymore.  We can only ensure prosperity through shared identity,” Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Kingdom of the Netherlands H.E. M. Riaz Hamidullah.

“Today, building a sustainable, responsible and ethical apparel industry will not only bring benefits for the manufacturers, but also it is also equally beneficial for our economy. This job should not only be defined by only one party. Both the manufacturers and the buyers have to work together for ensuring ethical and sustainable manufacturing,”  Atiqul Islam, mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation and former President, BGMEA

SAF audience
Photo: SAF
SAF audience
“There has been significant improvements in the apparel industry of Bangladesh as per as safety and sustainability is concerned. However, there is still work to be done to promote sustainability in the sector for which stakeholders’ engagement and collaboration is the key,” Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bangladesh H.E. Anne van Leeuwen.

“Today our clothing factories are not only safer, but also have become more dynamic, modern, energy-efficient and environment-friendly. Bangladesh has by far the highest number of green garment factories in the world. US Green Building Council (USGBC) certified a total of 160 Bangladeshi factories as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), among them 48 are LEED platinum-rated. Forty out of the world’s top 100 garment factories are in Bangladesh. Moreover, 500 more factories are in the pipeline for certification,”  Faruque Hassan, BGMEA president.

“BGMEA joined the UN Fashion Industry Charter (UNFCCC) with an ambition to reduce GHG emission by 30% till 2030,” Faruque Hassan.