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RMG factory mapping project launched in Bangladesh
02
Aug '17
Digital RMG Factory Mapping in Bangladesh (DRFM-B), a major initiative to map all apparel factory and disclose location and data on garment factories, has been launched in the country. It is the fi­rst ever of its kind to attempt to digitally map the entire garment sector in Bangladesh and marks a transformative industry shift towards more transparency.

The digital mapping project will be implemented by BRAC University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), coordinated by BRAC USA, with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) as strategic partner, along with lead funding from C&A Foundation. DRFM-B will be guided by a multi-stakeholder Project Advisory Committee, including representatives of workers, NGOs, employers, and industry associations.

The locally owned and managed project will collect credible, comprehensive and accurate data on factories across Bangladesh and disclose it in a publicly available, online map. The map will provide a detailed industry-wide database of factories, including names, locations, numbers of workers, product type, export country, certifications, brand customers, etc. Verification will be crowdsourced from the public to ensure that information remains up-to-date and accurate.

“This project will send a strong signal to all stakeholders that transformative change is happening within the ready-made garment sector. Through its mapping and relationship building, DRFM-B will fuel Bangladesh’s garment industry advancements, inspire shared responsibility, responsible sourcing, collective action, and builds upon pre-existing improvement efforts through informed decision-making,’’ said Parveen S Huda, project manager DRFM-B.

Huda also said that the expected outcome of this mapping project will be an interactive web-based map consisting different type of information about factories. This will help establish transparency and awareness, and ultimately lead to long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the Bangladeshi RMG sector.

The chair of the programme, Professor Dr Rahim B Talukdar, adviser, CED, BRAC University said, the contribution of the RMG sector over the last 40 years has been phenomenal. However, the learning curve of the industry has not been very smooth. In spite of the success of the industry, some unfortunate incidences like Rana Plaza and Tazreen have brought the whole sector into questions of transparency and accountability. DRFM-B project is an attempt to address these issues. The aim of this project is to collect real-time industry data by conducting nationwide census and to exhibit the data in an interactive publicly accessible online platform like the Google map.

“The whole topic of the project is transparency. Unfortunately, many other countries are not thinking the way Bangladesh is thinking. So this project itself is unique not only to Bangladesh but also to globally. This is something that we all can be proud as Bangladesh is again taking a lead here when it comes to global sourcing. This project demonstrates the commitment and collaboration we have to this country,” said special guest Shantanu Singh, unit leader, general manager, C&A Sourcing Bangladesh.

For more than 30 years, the apparel industry has dominated the Bangladeshi economy, making it the world’s second largest garment-producing country. ‘’DRFM-B is driven by the fundamental belief that transparency and traceability lead to long-term industry advancements and improved working conditions. By funding this project, we aim to increase industry accountability to transform fashion into a force for good,’’ stated Naureen Chowdhury, C&A Foundation programme manager supply chain innovation & transformation.

The public map will go live in mid-2018 with the Dhaka cluster. The final version of the map showcasing all 20 Bangladeshi garment-producing districts is expected to be completed by mid-2021, said CED in a press release. (KD)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India


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