Some 6 per cent local garment factories have adopted new business models or innovative plans to incorporate sustainability in a post-pandemic recovery, a new study said yesterday.
Experiencing the worst of times in the Covid-19's fallouts prompted them to improve efficiency, reduce cost of production and business management and attain more sustainable supply chains.
An associated survey was conducted last year in 47 factories whose owners were presented certificates for "extraordinary performance in sustainability" through a virtual programme at The Westin Dhaka making public the study.
The study was conducted by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Report Initiative (GRI).
Some 42 per cent said to aim to reduce energy, waste and resource consumption in the next three years by 2 to 15 per cent and greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption every year by 5 to 25 per cent.
Some 34 per cent have either a "reuse" or "recycle" practice for waste.
Some 98 per cent said to have an environmental grievance mechanism system in place, 6 per cent of which said to have taken immediate action on receiving complaints about disposal of solid waste in local waters.
Some 15 per cent said to have used recycled water in production or sanitation facilities and 23 per cent practised rainwater harvesting for gardening, car washing or sanitation facilities.
A majority or 91 per cent use borewell water while 32 per cent sourcing it from municipality infrastructure.
The factories claim to discharge water from effluent treatment plants on testing parameters as per the ZDHC guidelines including hydrogen levels, chemical and biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended and dissolved solids, temperature and colour.
The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) programme has been taken up by a group of apparel and footwear brands and retailers to lead the industry towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals.
Some 9 per cent claimed to discharge treated water in rivers and the rest into sewer lines.
The data claims all participants had an environment management system and reduced plastic consumption by an average of 30 per cent in the past three years.
BGMEA President Rubana Huq presented the certificates and Zuena Aziz, principal coordinator (SDG affairs) at the Prime Minister's Office, and Sudipto Mukerjee, resident representative of UNDP Bangladesh, also spoke.