Most of Bangladesh's garment units have CSR practices in place
The Rana Plaza and Tazreen tragedies had an adverse impact on the image of Bangladesh as a sourcing hub for ready-made garments. Jasim Uddin, MD of TextureBD talks about the progress in this regard subsequently besides his company's CSR activities with Fibre2Fashion.com
Bangladesh has emerged as a leading manufacturing hub for the best of global brands, but is yet to launch any one brand which may be said to be originating from the country. What are your thoughts on launching a Bangladeshi brand?
As a leading manufacturer for other leading brands, we are trying to build our own brands. Some local leading manufacturers have already produced some items and launched their own shops here in Bangladesh. They are also trying to set their own brand-outlets abroad. We ourselves have launched a sportswear brand in Australia under the name 'Leaves Sports'. We are getting a good response from customers, and hope that it will also spread to New Zealand and Europe.
How have the Rana Plaza and Tazreen tragedies impacted business?
The Rana Plaza and Tazreen tragedies posed a big threat for us, and we were not adequately prepared to overcome the situation within a short period. We learnt a lot of things. The BGMEA and the government took all the necessary steps to ensure factory safety. To ensure a safe working environment, the Bangladesh Accord initiated legally-binding agreements between brands and trade unions, all working towards a safe and healthy Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry. Majority of the factories have already been inspected by the accord and passed successfully. If there is any modification needed in a factory building, the accord points it out and the factory takes corrective measures. I hope within the next year-end, we will get a good picture of our garment industries and get back our 'Made in Bangladesh' brand image.
Do manufacturing houses in Bangladesh follow the cookie-cutter process, or is there a lot of trend forecasting, research and development that is expected by brands you manufacture for?
Few companies have started cookie-cutter style houses. There is not quite enough to make trend forecasting in Bangladesh.
From where do Bangladeshi units source yarns, dyes, chemicals, etc?
We mostly import yarn from India, Pakistan, China and the US. We import dyes and chemicals from Japan, Taiwan and China.
What is the state of affairs of CSR in Bangladesh, not just in terms of compliance, but also with respect to giving back to society?
At the moment, most of Bangladesh's garment units follow CSR practices both inside their premises as well as outside. Lots of hospitals, schools and colleges have been established to ensure better life of workers and their families.