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June 29, 2021

Bangladesh moves forward on RMG sustainability reporting

The Bangladesh garment industry is taking steps towards a consolidated approach to sustainability reporting in the private sector.

By Hannah Abdulla

In the past months 47 BGMEA member factories conducted sustainability self-reporting, translating their impact into the language of National Priority Indicators (NPIs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The move is part of a project between the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Exporters Association (BGMEA), announced earlier this year.

They are are taking steps towards a consolidated industry approach to sustainability reporting of the private sector, arguing that its contribution to Sustainable Development Goals is not yet clear.

This is despite the Bangladesh Financing Strategy expecting a 42% contribution from the private sector to achieve SDG financing and the 8th Five-Year-Plan envisioning 75% of the achievements to be supported by private sector.

The efforts of the 47 factories are consolidated in a new report: ‘A Pathway to Manage Private Sector Impact on Bangladesh NPIs and SDGs.’

“In Bangladesh, the ready-made garment [RMG] sector not only contributes to economic development, but also to SDG achievement: it provides employment; supports healthcare of the workforce; invests in up-skilling the workforce; adopts resource recycling; increasingly uses renewable energy, and so on,” says UNDP resident representative, Sudipto Mukerjee.

“While some individual factories produce sustainability reports, the appreciation of the magnitude of the impacts has so far remained outside of systematic studies and reporting, making it difficult to understand industry trends and align private sector efforts to government goals.”

Zuena Aziz, principal coordinator for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office, highlights how “for attaining SDGs by 2030, the role of private sector is very crucial. Only the inclusive participation of government, private sectors and civil society will ensure the timely implementation of SDGs.”

Rubana Huq, former President of the BGMEA, adds: “With this report we wanted to measure the RMG industry’s impact on SDGs to communicate with key stakeholders, such as the government, buyers, trade partners, and communities so that together we can take action to support the country.

“We hope to inspire more RMG factories and other industries to undertake sustainability reporting in the future as it is a key step in the journey of translating the private sector contribution to SDG financing into concrete achievements and future actions.”

Click here for the full report.

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