Worldwide apparel consumption is set to increase by 65 percent by 2030 when the population will go up by 16 percent, creating huge business potential for Bangladesh’s garment industry, a top H&M official said yesterday.
Environmental pollution will appear as a big challenge then, as it is spreading at the same rate of the global apparel consumption, said Ziaur Rahman, H&M’s country manager for Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ethiopia.
Currently, the Swedish retail giant makes the largest purchase of over $3 billion worth of fashion items from Bangladesh a year.
The company has already asked all its suppliers and manufacturers to be more aware of sustainability in fashion business, Rahman said at a press meet at Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka.
GJ Harry Verweij, ambassador of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, said the “Made in Bangladesh” label was something for the country to be proud of.
“Bangladesh is now a home to some of the world’s best and most compliant garment factories,” Verweij said at the event.
However, consumers do not want products manufactured with child labour and expect responsible sourcing, he said.
In the supply chain of fashion business, everybody should avoid life threatening working conditions, child labour and modern-day slavery practices, he added.
He said 2020 would be a transitional year for Bangladesh when the Accord would leave the country and the RMG Sustainability Council would replace it to look after garment sector’s safety issues.
“We want Bangladesh to become the Asian tiger,” he said.
Bangladesh has built up many world-class green garment factories solely for sustainability of the business and environment, not under any buyer’s prescription, said Rubana Huq, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
“For me sustainability is not only for the environment but also for workers’ rights,” she told the press conference organised by trading entity Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) and the BGMEA.
The BAE and BGMEA will jointly organise the second edition of Sustainable Apparel Forum at International Convention City Bashundhara in Dhaka on November 5, said Mostafiz Uddin, managing director of the BAE.
Charlotta Schlyter, Sweden’s ambassador to Bangladesh, and MA Rahim (Feroz), vice-president of the BGMEA, also spoke.