Pranta Biswas, Coordinator, Denim Focus
Bangladesh currently boasts the greenest garment factories in the world. Green industry initiative is a major driver toward sustainable industrial development around the world. Bangladesh has been working towards industrial transformation in the current period of globalization, with the goal of becoming a middle-income country. The fast rise of these businesses has aided the country’s socio-economic development by creating numerous job opportunities, reducing poverty, and improving the overall quality of life. In today’s world, where business is no longer confined to the traditional concept of business, sustainability and environmental consciousness are buzzwords. For example, the garments sector already has a number of factories that are concerned about the environment and are striving to become an environmentally inclusive industry. Green buildings are far more energy-efficient than traditional structures. They may help you save money, boost employee productivity, raise your company’s financial value, and demonstrate your dedication to sustainability. Green buildings also provide additional immediate benefits such as improved industrial image, health protection, workplace safety, and increased worker productivity. A LEED-certified factory building promises fewer industrial mishaps, such as fires, and hence fewer casualties, thanks to its distinctive architectural design.
In Bangladesh, the RMG industry is critical to the country’s industrial growth. Bangladesh’s garment industry rose to international prominence in a short period of time. Bangladesh is the largest garment exporter among the Southeast Asian countries and the world’s second-largest. Although businesses do not pay a premium for green clothing manufacturing, such an endeavor aids in the country’s branding. The majority of buyers are unaware of the goods and services offered by GSCM (Green Supply Chain Management). External factors such as customer expectations and cheap prices are deemed crucial.
Bangladesh has 157 Green garments Factory including 47 Platinum, 96 gold, 10 silver and 4 Leed certified. More than 500 are under certification. With this number, the common question usually arises, whether the Green factory is profitable or not. Do we really need to consider this green factory investment in terms of money only? To understand the scenario, we collected some feedback from industry owners and experts.
Fazlul Hoque, Managing Director of Plummy Fashions Ltd said that “Bangladesh is a champion in the green industry & it is a matter of pride for those of us who started the first Green Industries in early 2013-14. I have worked differently to spread this excitement after the Green Plummy fashion. I have kept the factory open so anyone can visit and see how actually Green Theory Wok. We were always open to Knowledge Sharing. In the midst of feeling so good, we have some difficult places. Entrepreneurs invested lots of money, there is always hard work and trouble. Still, this green venture is not profitable as the Rate of Investment is not satisfactory. We have to keep in mind that, it’s not charity, in the end, it’s a commercial venture. It happened because we couldn’t Brand as a Green Bangladesh in the world although our individual factory has own strong position. If we could have branded our Green Industry initiative as a country, Then the image of Bangladesh as a cheap country would have changed among the buyers.”
Fakir Kamruzzaman Nahid, Managing Director of Fakir Fashions Ltd added that “we are competent with 2030 sustainability goals and not focusing on green factory only while practicing green in everywhere. We are taking environment-friendly measures wherever we can in our company and trying to spread green thinking tendency among employers. It’s a long process, however, we are on the right track indeed.”
Humayun Kabir Salim, Managing Director of KFL group stated that “As a green factory owner, I will say workers get environment-friendly work premises, our utility consumption is less than convention factory, water consumption and daylight facility is really good in the factory. I think Green practice is a very good initiative for the environment and mankind. To tell you very frankly, we are not getting any price benefit from the customer, but we are getting order priorities from the buyer. Having a green factory means 25-30% more expensive compared to a conventional factory. In this case, I always request the buyer to think about the price issue. On the other hand, our Govt is giving facilities, however, we need more flexible support from them like low-cost term loan.”
Md. Kamal Uddin, Managing Director of Torque Group again included, “Green factory is a worldwide concept if any factory is green, customer get a good impression from the very beginning. We, the owners and members of BGMEA pay special attention to the green factory. I also have undertaken a green project. Though we are not having green prices. We need to Brand our ‘Made in Bangladesh Image’ for this price negotiation issue.”
After talking with the industry owner, we also have taken feedback from Green Industry consultants and Experts about the actual nominal cost needed for being a Green certified Factory
Ananta Ahmed, Managing Director of 360 TSL,(LEED AP BD + C, LEED AP EB O + M & LEED AP ID, LEED AP HOMES, LEED AP ND ), USGBC faculty, a green factory consultancy company explained the issue and said that “It does not cost much to build a green factory. It is possible to subsidize all costs related to consultancy and certification if we consider upfront savings and ongoing savings against the investment. The lead rating system has a total of 100 points and an additional Bonus of 10 points. 40+ (Green certified), 50-59 (Silver), 60-79 (Gold), 80+ (Platinum). If any factory fulfills some mandatory prerequisite like energy meter installation, Digital water meter, air condition system with fresh air, & some other policy-related issue and gets 40 points then it’s become a green factory. So in a sense, to be green certified, it’s not very expensive and tough process at all.”
Motivations to going to the green garment factory are environmental safety, a safe working ambiance, reduced energy use, the plant’s reputation, and enticing consumers. The key hurdles for green transformation and sustainable growth in this industry are huge infrastructure, high maintenance costs, increased manufacturing costs, and a lack of green-financial assistance. Apart from that, fair pricing, green priority orders from clients, and favorable government regulations can have a significant impact on the green shift and sustainability of green clothing companies.
The “Go Green” concept has been recognized as a role model by Bangladeshi textile entrepreneurs. The future expansion of green clothing manufacturers is largely reliant on fair prices, a collaborative effort by brands, buyers, policymakers, and the government’s decisive and supporting role. We believe this journey will keep going and Bangladesh will get recognition as a green country.