What do you know about the Bangladesh clothing factory? Bangladesh is indeed the second-largest clothing manufacturer globally and a major supplier of popular brands. However, when it comes to safety and sustainability, is it really a viable option in 2023?
This question doesn’t have a straightforward answer, as several factors contribute to determining the safety and sustainability of clothing factories in Bangladesh. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the clothing sector in Bangladesh is gradually shifting its focus towards safer and more eco-friendly manufacturing practices.
In this blog, I will discuss in more detail about the safety and sustainability of Bangladesh clothing factory, including the name of top 5 eco-friendly clothing manufacturers.
Bangladesh Clothing Factory: Safety Issues
The Bangladesh clothing factory has come a long way since the tragic incident of 2013 at Rana Plaza, which claimed the lives of more than 1,100 people. The country’s garment industry has been under scrutiny for its safety concerns, with the brands that source the products being held accountable for the safety of the workers in the factories.
However, with the collective efforts of the Bangladesh government, international organizations, brands, and workers’ unions, several measures have been taken to improve workplace safety.
Safety Measures Taken in Bangladesh Clothing Factory:
Improvements in Building and Fire Safety:
After the Rana Plaza tragedy, the Bangladeshi government, in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), initiated the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. The accord’s objective was to ensure the country’s garment factories’ structural, fire, and electrical safety. After receiving the accord, over 1,500 factories were inspected, and remedial measures were taken.
Strengthening the Labour Inspection System:
The Labour Inspection Reform Roadmap was created to better monitor and enforce safety standards in garment factories. A 40-day training program was carried out to improve the capacity of the inspectors, and a labor inspection strategy was developed that prioritized areas and industries.
Building a Culture of Safety in the Workplace:
The Bangladesh government’s legislative and policy environment regarding occupational safety and health (OSH) issues was improved, with over 800,000 workers being trained on essential OSH measures. The capacity of government, workers’, and employers’ organizations to manage safety concerns was also enhanced.
Support for Injured Survivors:
Several measures were taken to support the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster, including career counseling, skills training, and psychosocial counseling.
Industry-wide Programs for Better Working Conditions:
The ILO, in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), launched the Better Work Bangladesh program, where over 140 factories and more than 300,000 workers are assisted in improving their working conditions.
Despite these initiatives, Bangladesh’s RMG (ready-made garment) sector still has several challenges to overcome. The country’s garment industry is one of the world’s largest, contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth. Thus, the need to balance economic growth with workers’ safety is an ongoing challenge for the industry.
Is Bangladesh Clothing Factory Sustainable?
Yes, Bangladesh clothing factories are now more sustainable than before. This remarkable progress has been made since the tragic Rana Plaza disaster. They have taken significant steps towards sustainability and safety in their production processes.
Bangladesh is now home to nine out of the top 10 sustainable garment factories worldwide. The number of certified green factories has skyrocketed from three in 2014 to an impressive 186 in recent years. This growth clearly demonstrates the country’s unwavering commitment to sustainability.
These factories have achieved sustainability through strict adherence to the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards. The factories employ measures like rainwater harvesting, solar power, and waste management systems to reduce their environmental impact.
Additionally, they have improved their working conditions to enhance workplace safety, including proper fire safety measures and the improvement of living quarters for workers.
However, despite their significant progress toward sustainability, there are still some challenges that Bangladesh’s clothing factories must confront. The country’s factories are still largely reliant on fossil fuels for energy, and there is a need for more significant investment in renewable energy to accelerate the transition to a greener and more sustainable production process.
Check out the blog for more detail on how Bangladesh garment industry stride in environmental sustainability.
What Factors Are Considered to Be a Sustainable Clothing Factory in Bangladesh?
In Bangladesh, sustainable clothing factories are required to maintain the highest possible standards regarding their environmental impacts, social and ethical practices, and overall performance. Several factors are taken into consideration when certifying a factory as sustainable. These factors are elaborated below:
#1. Carbon Emissions:
The carbon footprint of a factory is a significant factor in determining its sustainability. Factories are required to minimize carbon emissions by reducing their energy consumption, encouraging the use of renewable energy, and adopting energy-efficient technologies.
They are also required to measure, report, and verify their carbon emissions regularly to ensure compliance with regulatory standards and policies.
#2. Energy and Water Usage:
Sustainable clothing factories must promote the efficient use of energy and water resources. They are required to adopt technologies that reduce energy and water consumption, including solar heating, rainwater harvesting, and wastewater treatment.
They also need to maintain systems for monitoring and reporting their water and energy usage and implement measures to minimize wastage.
#3. Waste Management:
The sustainable clothing factories in Bangladesh must adopt measures to reduce waste generation and increase recycling rates. This includes implementing waste reduction programs, promoting recycling and reusing of materials, and disposing of waste safely and responsibly.
Additionally, factories must have a comprehensive waste management plan in place, which outlines their procedures for managing all types of waste generated.
#4. Indoor Environmental Quality:
Factories must maintain high indoor environmental standards, including adequate ventilation, good air quality, and proper lighting. They should provide worker accommodations, such as dining and restroom facilities, that meet environmental and health standards. This also includes the management of hazardous and toxic substances to ensure worker safety.
#5. Social and Ethical Practices:
Sustainable clothing factories also need to ensure that they operate ethically and treat workers fairly. This includes ensuring workers are paid fairly, provided with safe and healthy working conditions, and access to training and development opportunities. In addition, factories must comply with all local laws and regulations relating to labor practices.
#6. Buyers’ Demands, Government Policies, and Regulations:
The demands of buyers, government policies, and regulations play a significant role in the sustainable certification of clothing factories in Bangladesh. Manufacturers must take into account the requirements set by their buyers, such as quality standards, lead times, and pricing.
Furthermore, government policies often have regulations that must be adhered to, such as environmental law, social responsibility, and labor law.
Top 5 Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Clothing Factories in Bangladesh
As second largest garments exporters, here are the details of Bangladesh’s top five eco-friendly and sustainable clothing factories.
#1. Green Textile Limited:
Green Textile Limited, located in Mymensingh’s Bhaluka, is the world’s top eco-friendly factory as per the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) standards. The factory scored 104 out of 110 on different scales of eco-friendliness, making it the most environmentally friendly factory globally.
USGBC issued the LEED Platinum certificate to Green Textile Limited on 21 February. The factory boasts modern technology and eco-friendly features such as rainwater harvesting, solar panels, and waste management systems.
#2. Saiham Textile Industry:
Saiham Textile Industry, under the USGBC’s Core & Shell Category, has achieved the Pre-certified Platinum level of LEED rating. Its territory office, which includes advancement projections, is 105,134 square feet.
The factory has incorporated various features such as reducing water consumption, an energy reserve system obtained from client HVAC configurations, a lighting strategy, and safe materials and completions for better ecology.
#3. Mithela Textile Industries Limited:
Mithela Textile Industries Limited, established in 2002, is a leader in environmentally friendly textile production. The factory has been USGBC LEED Platinum certified since 2018 for avoiding strongly colored weaving materials that emit toxins that could harm the atmosphere surrounding the sector.
Mithela Group’s investment in modern technology, including effluent treatment plants, has made the factory one of Bangladesh’s most eco-friendly and sustainable textile units.
#4. Pioneer Denim Ltd:
Pioneer Denim Ltd, a subsidiary of the Urmi Group, is Bangladesh’s leading sustainable denim manufacturing unit. The company invests heavily in modern technology, sustainable manufacturing processes, and employee welfare.
Pioneer Denim Ltd has identified the guiding principles for Bangladesh’s future green apparel sector as part of its continuous improvement process. The company daily produces high-quality denim clothing, employs over 8,000 people, and has annual revenue of US$ 168 million in 2018. They are certified with GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and Oeko-Tex.
#5. Designer Fashion Ltd:
Designer Fashion Ltd is the world’s largest LEED Platinum-certified textile mill. The company consistently provides high-quality fabric to some of the world’s leading fashion brands. The factory has a 150-acre plant, a 1.4 million square foot manufacturing facility, and the capability to produce 40 million yards of fabric annually, which will increase to 80 million yards in 2019.
Designer Fashion Ltd has invested significantly in sustainable technology and processes, including rainwater harvesting systems, LED lighting, and renewable energy sources.
FAQs on Bangladesh Clothing Factory
What is LEED certification?
LEED certification is an internationally recognized green building rating system developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). It is designed to promote sustainable building practices and reduce the environmental impact of the construction industry.
The LEED certification process involves a rigorous evaluation of a building’s sustainability performance across various categories such as energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, materials selection, site sustainability, and innovation in design.
The certification system is available for virtually all types of buildings, including commercial, residential, healthcare, and education facilities. To receive the LEED certificate, the building must meet the highest standards in each category, starting from the design and construction phase to the operation and maintenance of the building. The certification process involves documentation, project reviews, and site assessments. The USGBC grants the certification to the qualifying buildings.
The LEED certification has become essential for building owners, designers, and developers to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, energy efficiency, and environmental stewardship. The certification offers various benefits, including reduced operating costs, improved staff productivity and health, increased property value, and a reduced environmental impact.
LEED certification has transformed the construction industry by promoting sustainable building practices, reducing resource consumption, and creating healthier and more comfortable spaces for occupants.
Moreover, it has raised public awareness about environmental issues and the importance of sustainable buildings, inspiring a new generation of architects, designers, and builders committed to creating a more sustainable future. In essence, LEED certification sets a benchmark for best practices in sustainable building design, construction, and operation.
What are the benefits of eco-friendly clothing factories?
Here all the benefits of eco-friendly clothing factories in Bangladesh are discussed below.
#1. Reduction in Environmental Pollution
One of the most significant benefits of eco-friendly clothing factories is the reduction in environmental pollution. These factories use sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials such as organic cotton, bamboo, linen, and hemp.
They also use state-of-the-art technology in their operations to reduce energy consumption, water usage, and emissions. As a result, they emit fewer pollutants, significantly reducing the garment industry’s environmental impact in Bangladesh.
Furthermore, eco-friendly factories have waste management and recycling procedures put in place to ensure that waste is properly disposed of, further reducing environmental pollution. By implementing these practices, eco-friendly factories help protect the environment in Bangladesh, preserving it for current and future generations.
#2. Safe Working Conditions
Eco-friendly clothing factories in Bangladesh also prioritize safe working conditions for their workers. They provide a healthy and safe environment, reducing the risk of occupational hazards that garment workers face regularly. They ensure that workers are provided with protective gear and follow safety standards.
In addition to that, eco-friendly clothing factories emphasize workers’ rights and follow the laws and regulations of Bangladesh. They offer fair wages, humane working hours, and benefits to their workers.
Moreover, they employ qualified professionals, ensuring that their employees receive quality training and skill-building. These factories put employee well-being at the forefront, creating a positive working environment.
#3. Economical Sustainability
Often, eco-friendly clothing factories are financially sustainable as well. By investing in newer technologies and materials, eco-friendly factories save energy, water usage, and textile waste disposal costs. Sustainable materials used in production are often less expensive to produce, and the use of eco-friendly technologies reduces maintenance and production expenditure.
Additionally, Many consumers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products, meaning the eco-friendly factories can charge premiums for their products.
#4. Improving the Image of Bangladesh’s Garment Industry.
Due to the poor working conditions and environmental pollution prevalent in many Bangladesh garment factories, the garment industry has been plagued with a negative image for years.
However, eco-friendly clothing factories provide positive change, highlighting Bangladesh’s willingness to improve its garment industry’s environmental and social impact.
Eco-friendly factories promote transparency in operations, ensuring the consumers about the ethical production of the clothes they wear. Consumers are becoming more aware of environmental and ethical issues and are more likely to purchase products from green and clean factories.
Thus, by adopting eco-friendly practices, Bangladesh can significantly improve its image and become a more attractive destination for responsible and environmentally conscious businesses.
Why do international brands prefer Bangladesh’s clothing factories?
Over the past few decades, Bangladesh’s clothing industry has gained significant momentum, gradually becoming an important part of the global apparel chain. The reason for this is due to a number of advantages that make Bangladesh an attractive destination for international clothing brands.
Firstly, the cost of labor in Bangladesh is comparatively low. This means that labor-intensive activities, such as cutting and stitching, can be done at a significantly lower cost, resulting in a lower overall production cost. This particularly appeals to large brands as it translates into higher profit margins.
In addition, the fertile land in Bangladesh and the government support for cotton farming also lower the cost of raw materials.
Another key advantage lies in Bangladesh’s geographical location. The country is close to major markets such as Europe and the United States, enabling speedy and cost-efficient transportation of goods and reducing lead times. This is important for fast-moving trends and styles, where production speed can mean the difference between success and failure.
Furthermore, the industry has developed over the years, and due to a highly-skilled, young, and mostly female workforce, there is a great deal of versatility and flexibility in the production process. The workers are trained to work on a range of fabrics and styles, meaning that production can be varied and tailored to specific needs.
Importantly, Bangladesh’s government has also made several efforts to improve the country’s infrastructure, particularly in power, transportation, and communication. This has resulted in more efficient sourcing of raw materials, better transportation of goods, and easier communication between brands and manufacturers.
Finally, Bangladesh’s compliance with international labor laws has been a point of contention over the years, but the issue has been addressed, and measures have been taken to improve working conditions for factory workers. International organizations have played an important role in advocating for better labor standards, leading to many clothing brands setting up their Code of Conduct.
Hopefully, now you are clear regarding the safety and sustainability of Bangladesh clothing factories. If you are considering sourcing from Bangladesh, be sure to research the manufacturers thoroughly and ensure that they meet all necessary requirements and standards. The country’s proximity to major markets provides a great opportunity for fast-moving trends and styles.
Additionally, with its skilled workforce, varied production capabilities, and improved infrastructure, Bangladesh can deliver high-quality products at very competitive prices. Ultimately it looks like Bangladesh’s clothing industry is here to stay, and the country will continue to be a major player in the world of fashion.