The primary objective of sustainability should be to protect the rights of all stakeholders and workers, said the experts.
They also said that there are other factors that affect sustainability and that environmental development is not the only one.
They were speaking at the various plenary sessions at the 4th edition of the Sustainable Apparel Forum (SAF) 2023 organized by the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) on Thursday in the capital.
Peter Haas, US ambassador to Bangladesh, said that sustainability has a series of aspects, and the role of the workers is among the most important ones.
“There are green factories but still many workers are deprived of getting their rights. We believe that the condition of sustainable development is to ensure the rights of all. Labour protection will help in getting fair prices of products,” he added.
He also urged the manufacturers to protect the labours as per the law and to ensure access to their rights.
Charles Whiteley, head of the EU Delegation to Bangladesh, said that to attain sustainability, the government, industry, and civil society are responsible to carry out their duty.
“The RMG sector is one of the main factors of the EU-Bangladesh trade relation. However, the issues of sustainability are now a top issue in Europe,” he added.
In terms of green transition and compliance, Bangladesh is an example to all. However, a national action plan is needed to maintain sustainability, he added noting that the EU has legislated due diligence agenda 2030, for which, a collective initiative will be mandatory for Bangladesh to be competitive.
In his speech as the chief guest, Commerce Tipu Munshi said that to drive sustainability in full swing, two things are must – governmental policy and collective action.
“We are ready for it. A number of sustainability initiative is underway. Moreover, we’ve to work collectively for a sustainable apparel sector,” he added.
In his speech, Faruque Hassan, president of the BGMEA, said that the issue of responsible business and sustainable trade should not be confined to the manufacturer’s level as the manufacturers are a part of the supply chain and every individuals within the supply chain have their own roles and responsibility.
Mostafiz Uddin, founder of Sustainable Apparel Forum said that in the global garment market, sustainability has become a critical component of corporate operations, enabling businesses to establish a long-lasting presence.
Bangladesh has taken steps towards sustainable manufacturing, taking into consideration the needs of the environment and the current landscape, he added.
The forum hosted four plenary sessions on climate action, circular economy in Bangladesh’s textile and apparel industry, renewable energy, and human rights.