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"Since the [Rana Plaza] accident we have taken unprecedented steps to reform the industry factory by factory. Global brands and retailers and development partners like International Labour Organization (ILO) have joined hands with our government and industry associations for this reform process," Md Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) told Fibre2Fashion in an exclusive interview.
"The joint efforts have already helped complete inspections in all of our export oriented garment factories in the area of structural, electrical and fire safety. Risky factories were closed down, and the remaining factories are carrying out remediation activities. So our success is unprecedented and recognised globally. BGMEA is supporting and promoting the good practices in our member factories," added Rahman.
Competing global brands came together to work for the greater cause of sustainability through the formation of the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety (the Accord), the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (the Alliance). This unique initiative reveals the commitment of global brands on Bangladesh.
Speaking about Accord and Alliance, he said, "The progress has been impressive so far. All the stakeholders are working with good cooperation from each other. It is expected that the remediation activities in all factories may be completed by the end of 2018."
When asked about what is being done to ensure sustainable development, Rahman replied, "We are engaged with our government, buyers and development partners and running a number of projects like Partnership for Cleaner Textiles (PaCT) and Towards Resource Efficiency & Environmental Sustainability (TREES). We are also organising knowledge session and promoting sustainability issues like water, energy and chemical management among others."
The focus of the country is currently on product and market diversification and it is gradually moving towards high end items to achieve its target of $50 billion in exports by 2021. Infrastructure and skills development are the priorities and Bangladesh is working to create a more favourable and investment friendly environment in the country and to reduce the cost of doing business. (KD)
Click here to read the complete interview
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