Clean production methods key to scaling up exports | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 08, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Clean production methods key to scaling up exports

Clean production methods key to scaling up exports

Apparel makers must focus on cleaner production to attain the goal of reaching $50 billion in exports by 2021, analysts said.

Adoption of cleaner technology will not only protect the environment but also enhance the factories' competitive edge, they said.

“Environmental initiatives are compulsory to enhance competitiveness,” said Bastiaan Mohrmann, head of International Finance Corporation's water advisory team in South Asia.

He stressed the need for sustainable sources of clean water to double exports by 2021, as garment makers need a lot of water in the production process. 

For every kilogram of textile produced, factories typically use 250 litres of water for washing, dyeing and finishing. “That's the daily water requirement of two people.”

“If the environmental practices do not change by 2021, the sector's water demand will double. This is risky as the water level has been declining by at least 2 metres per year.”

For every 20-metre drop in water level, the country spends about Tk 4,000 crore, or half a billion dollars, to pump water up from greater depths.

“This is a colossal amount -- greater than the entire 2014-15 budget allocated for social welfare.”

Mohrmann's comments came at a session styled 'environmental sustainability -- a must' during the Dhaka Apparel Summit, currently being held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.

Atiur Rahman, governor of Bangladesh Bank, called upon the apparel makers to go green for sustainable development of the sector.

Factory owners will get low-cost funds if they want to adopt environment-friendly technologies, he said, adding that BB has already developed 47 green products which come with lower interest rates. 

He said there is no shortage of funds to adopt green technology. Factory owners can take loans from the Tk 200 crore green fund set up by BB.

Besides, they can also borrow from export development funds at less than 3 percent interest rate.

John T Smith, long-term adviser of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, said many garment factory owners in Bangladesh are becoming more conscious of environmental issues due to their sustainable growth.

“It was a common practice to run effluent treatment plants only during inspections. But this practice has changed now.”

Gerben De Jong, the ambassador of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, said the country's textile sector has improved significantly over the past several decades.

Now, they have to focus on cleaner technology for higher exports.

Lars Doemer, global sustainability manager of Lindex, a leading fashion chain in Europe, called upon the garment makers to follow the sustainable guidelines prepared by Lindex recently.  

Elke Shrestha, GIZ's senior adviser for Environmental Standards and Resource Efficiency programme, called for more collaboration among the stakeholders for sustainable development of the garment industry.

David Hasanat, managing director of Viyellatex Group, also spoke.

David Hasanat, managing director of Viyellatex Group, also spoke.

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