Human rights, transparency, water, purchasing practices, and climate change were among the discussion topics at the recent Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF), which was jointly organized by Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on November 5th in Dhaka.

The theme of the Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) was “Enabling sustainability through policy and leadership”. The focus of this year’s forum was on practical, pragmatic actions the textile industry can adopt to enhance the sustainability.

It was an international convening to discuss Bangladesh’s actions to be a key player to make sustainable apparel industry a reality. More than 50 speakers from Bangladesh and overseas shared their expert opinions at the forum on issues critical for sustainability.

Speakers at the show included TipuMunshi, MP, Honorable Commerce Minister, Bangladesh, Md. ShahriarAlam, MP, Honourable State Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh, Md. Atiqul Islam, Honorable Mayor, Dhaka North City Corporation, Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Principal Coordinator (SDGs), Prime Minister’s Office, H. E. Benoit Préfonatine High Commissioner, High Commission of Canada to Bangladesh, H.E. Harry Verweij, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, H.E. CharlottaSchlyter, Ambassador of Sweden to Bangladesh, Dr.RubanaHuq, President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA), Sheikh FazleFahim, President, Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI), Han Bekke, President, International Apparel Federation (IAF), Jill Tucker, Head of Labour Rights Program, C&A Foundation, Pierre Börjesson, Head of Sustainability – Global Production, H&M Group, TuomoPoutiainen, Country Director, International Labor Organization, and Peter McCallister, Executive Director, Ethical Trading Initiative.

Additionally, the conference hosted several knowledge building technical presentations from renowned organisations which covered different issues relating to sustainability, including waste management, protection of the environment and better working conditions.

Founder & CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE), Mostafiz Uddin, said: “The time for talking on sustainability issues is over. It is now time for actions.”

Uddin suggested that the apparel and textile industries need more cooperation and better coordination between initiatives. “Multiple sustainability initiatives are creating market confusion, duplication and wasted resources,” Mostafiz Uddin added that they need to work together to make change happen.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh was the Title Sponsor of the event while H&M is “In Association With” Partner, and “Better Work Bangladesh” and “C&A Foundation” were partners at the event. 

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