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Country Highlights

Bangladesh: Sustainable Stitch in Garment Manufacturing

Bangladesh’s garment industry has been a cornerstone of the country’s economy, employing nearly 5 million citizens, particularly women from marginalized backgrounds. This sector contributes significantly to the nation’s GDP, accounting for 12% of it, and drives over 80% of national exports. The industry’s success can be attributed to its ability to leverage cost efficiencies through the availability of affordable yet skilled labor, making it an attractive production base for international brands, especially as China’s focus shifts.

However, the industry is facing new challenges, particularly related to sustainability and ethical practices. With climate change concerns on the rise and consumers increasingly demanding transparency and ethical production, Bangladesh’s garment industry is realizing the need to upgrade its practices to maintain its growth trajectory. This includes transitioning to renewable energy, implementing water conservation initiatives, launching upskilling programs for workers, and ensuring compliance with ethical audits across the entire apparel value chain.

Fortunately, consulting firm RFC, with its experience in assisting leading Asian garment exporters in enhancing sustainability capabilities, is well-positioned to offer customized recommendations to guide Bangladesh’s industry partners. These recommendations include ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) readiness assessments, management system audits, advice on factory retrofits, and measurable transition pathways. By implementing these solutions, Bangladesh’s garment industry can uphold profitability while meeting responsible production standards, which are crucial for retaining orders from international brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical practices.

The transition to more sustainable and ethical production practices is not only a necessity for the industry’s long-term viability but also an opportunity for Bangladesh to position itself as a leader in responsible garment manufacturing. By embracing these changes proactively, the industry can not only meet the evolving demands of consumers and international brands but also contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future for its workers and the environment.

In conclusion, Bangladesh’s garment industry, while facing new challenges, has the potential to transform itself into a global leader in sustainable and ethical apparel manufacturing. With the right guidance and proactive measures, the industry can continue to thrive while meeting the demands of an increasingly conscientious global market.

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