Apparel industry stakeholders in Bangladesh had an opportunity earlier this week to learn about critical product safety, sustainability, chemical management, and social responsibility issues facing the global apparel and footwear industry.

The first International Product Safety and Restricted Substances Conference organised by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) in Dhaka, Bangladesh attracted nearly 350 attendees.

It focused on the numerous regulatory standards, restricted substances lists, and sustainability issues facing the industry today, including the ninth edition of the AAFA's Restricted Substances List (RSL) designed to help navigate the issues covering apparel, footwear and home textiles.

The conference keynote address was delivered by Commissioner Nancy Nord from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, and a feature presentation on corporate sustainability was given by Sridevi Kalavakolanu, Wal-Mart director of ethical sourcing for the India Subcontinent, Middle East, Africa, and Europe. 

Discussion topics focused on a variety of product safety and sustainability issues, including product safety regulations in the US, the EU and other nations, required import and export documentation, the use of RSLs throughout the supply chain, testing and compliance requirements, and the OIA Eco-Index. 

The conference was presented in cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham Bangladesh) and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). A similar event is being planned for 6 December in Bangalore, India.