AKH Group, one of Bangladesh's leading garment exporters, broke new ground, opening an eco-friendly factory at Dhamrai on the outskirts of Dhaka, with a target of exporting products worth $80 million annually.
Named AKH Eco Apparels Ltd, the company spent Tk 150 crore to set up the factory. The company claims the factory will be able to reduce electricity consumption by 1,295 megawatt-hour a year, fuel oil by 325 tonnes and water use by 30 per cent. A quarter of its electricity need will be met through solar power.
The new factory received gold certification from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), one of the most popular green building accreditation programmes used around the world. Gold is the second highest LEED rating, after platinum.
Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed inaugurated the project while representatives from the US Green Building Council handed over gold category LEED certificate to the factory authorities.
“We started construction of the building in the middle of 2014, when our customers were pushing for such production units,” said Shamsul Alam, managing director of AKH Group, set up in 1997 by three friends at a rented house in Shyamoli with with Tk 52 lakh and 300 workers.
Of the total invested amount in the new venture, 85 per cent came from the company's own funds and the remaining 15 per cent from the local Exim Bank. Its long-term buyers provided technical support.
“If the government can supply us gas with adequate pressure, we can build such eco-apparel buildings every two years, as we have a lot of potential and customers.”
Spread over 13 acres of land, the factory has a rainwater harvesting system. Rainwater will be reused to reduce the consumption of groundwater, the company said.
“For AKH Eco Apparels, its management, employees and customers, the future is now,” said Roger Hubert, H&M's head for Bangladesh and Pakistan. H&M is a major customer of AKH Group.
About 150 factories either open or under construction are applying the green concept. They are the “future of Bangladesh's garment industry”, he said.
“AKH symbolises the new future of Bangladesh. A transformation has been happening in Bangladesh in a new and innovative way,” said Marcia Bernicat, US ambassador to Bangladesh. (SH)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India