Bangladesh has made significant progress in ensuring workplace safety and increasing the wages and capacity of workers but there hasn't been much improvement in their health and wellbeing, speakers said yesterday.
This might put all of the achievements at stake, said Jeroen Steeghs, deputy head of mission and head of economic affairs and development cooperation at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Dhaka.
He spoke at the Sustainable Apparel Summit at the Westin hotel in Dhaka.
In his speech, Steeghs said any step towards sustainability would ultimately benefit more than 4 million workers, most of whom are women.
“It is one of the key sectors where Bangladeshi female workers have felt economically empowered. Ensuring the health and wellbeing of this workforce should be one of the vital steps towards sustainability of the garment sector in Bangladesh,” he said in a statement.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said: “We have a tragic experience of Rana Plaza collapse. So, we have put in efforts to improve the workplace safety, environment and other compliance issues of garment factories.”
“Now we have seven of the best 10 factories in the world.”
Marie-Annick Bourdin, French ambassador to Bangladesh, said: “If we look back in the history of apparel in this vibrant landscape, during the 15th to 18th centuries, Bengal was the most important centre of cotton production and famous for the Muslin, which based particularly around the capital city of Dhaka.”
The summit was jointly organised by the SNV Netherlands and the Dutch-Bangla Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DBCCI).
Faruque Hassan, president of the DBCCI, and Jason Belanger, country director of the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, also spoke.