A long-term sustainability plan, coupled with easier and greater access to finance, is seen vital to help enhance sustainability in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector.
Addressing knowledge gaps and barriers that prohibit smaller manufacturers to get finance, looking into environmental challenge issues and taking steps towards greening production are also necessary.
The observations came at a dialogue on 'Enhancing environmental sustainability of the Bangladesh RMG sector in the aftermath of COVID-19' in Dhaka city on Wednesday, reads a press release.
PRI executive director Dr Ahsan Mansur was the keynoter at the event co-hosted by Policy Research Institute (PRI) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Dr Mansur focuses on the potential for rooftop solar power, reducing input materials through greater resource efficiency, recycling and reusing waste.
"We need to help accelerate the process so that the targets can be realised. Financing, regulatory changes, customs and tax policies, and incentives are important issues that need to be solved through continued cooperation and policy discussions with specific agencies."
BGMEA vice-president Miran Ali says the garment sector has come a long way since the establishment of IFC's Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT).
PaCT shows the industry a new path of competitive advantage by being responsible and making cost-effective and financially feasible changes in operation that reduce emissions, he adds.
Mr Ali emphasises the importance of having a business case around sustainable solutions such as rooftop solar and rainwater harvesting in the sector.
IFC country manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal Martin Holtmann says the RMG sector needs to address environmental challenges and make further strides towards greening production.
"Some sectoral and regulatory barriers remain, but I am very confident that the RMG sector will rise to the challenge and become even more energy-efficient," he is quoted as saying.
At the event, stakeholders also discussed the current challenges and opportunities in enhancing the sector's sustainability during the post-Covid recovery stage.
Some issues identified there include the necessity of a long-term sustainability plan, easier and greater access to finance, knowledge gaps and barriers that prohibit smaller manufacturers to get finance.
It is observed that RMG contributes one fifth of the GDP and more than 80 per cent of its export earnings while directly employing more than 4.5-million people, mostly women.
Bangladesh Bank director (Sustainable Finance Department) Khondkar Morshed Millat, Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute CEO Dr Md Jafar Uddin and SREDA member (renewable energy) Golam Sarware Kainat, among others, were present.
Representatives from BSTI, BEPZA, BIDA, Tariff Commission, industries and civil society and high officials from the embassies of Denmark and the Netherlands also participated in the event.
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