About Study

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The Study

Bangladesh has set the target of exporting 50 billion dollars worth of apparels by 2021. Realisation of this aspiration demands an improved and indepth understanding of the ongoing dynamics of transformation taking place in the country’s apparels sector in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza tragedy. In the backdrop of this evolving scenario, the CPD RMG study is geared to bridge the existing knowledge gap, capture the multifaceted upgradation taking place at the enterprise level and assess the implications of the key changes for the performance of the sector. Based on evidence-based research, the study seeks to recommend strategic policy options towards a globally competitive, highly compliant and sustainable RMG industry in Bangladesh. The study is thus both diagnostic and policy-prescriptive in nature.


Study Objectives

The purpose of the study is to examine, with the help of extensive survey of enterprises and workers, the state of ongoing transformation taking place in the apparels sector of Bangladesh particularly focusing on economic and social upgrading, and to assess the nature of gender-embeddedness of the various initiatives. The objective is to capture the implications of these ongoing changes for enterprise level performance with a view to come up with appropriate policy recommendations towards strengthened and sustainable development of the sector in an increasingly competitive and demanding global market.


Research Activities

The study will come up with new data and information through indepth enterprise-level survey of about 350 apparels units and 2000 workers to be based on comprehensive questionnaires covering a wide-range of issues. Appropriate statistical and analytical tools will be deployed to generate data on benchmarks and trends concerning key parameters, costs involved for compliance assurance, implications of economic and social upgrading, profitability of enterprises and distribution of earnings along the apparels value chain. Research reports, policy briefs and other materials will be prepared based on insights drawn from the analyses with a view to designing forward-looking policies and strategies for the RMG sector of Bangladesh.


Network and Outreach

The study envisages close collaboration between the study team and key involved groups which include Associations of RMG entrepreneurs, trade unions and stakeholders associated with Accord, Alliance and National Action Plan initiatives. Expert group meetings, FGDs and KIIs with participation of pertinent actors will be organised on a regular basis. Research reports, policy briefs, communication materials and other outputs and information will be regularly posted on the dedicated study website www.rmg-study.cpd.org.bd. The study foresees a wide-range of outreach activities. Blogs and twitter will be used to convey key messages, video clips will be uploaded on the YouTube; appropriate infographics will be developed for user-friendly knowledge sharing.



A diverse range of outputs will be prepared to address specific needs of policymakers and for use by key stakeholders. Study findings will be presented in the shape of research reports, policy briefs, working papers, research monographs and books. Databases will be created based on information generated from enterprise level surveys. Communication materials in the form of popular write-ups and blogs will be prepared. Web-based materials will be prepared for postings on YouTube.



Outcome of the study is a globally competitive and highly compliant export-oriented apparels industry in Bangladesh that respects workers’ rights, promotes gender empowerment and ensures distributive justice along the value chain.


Governance of the Project

The study has been designed and is being implemented by CPD. A number of international organisations have extended support for this study including Embassy of Sweden, Dhaka, GIZ, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Dhaka and FES Bangladesh.

Overall guidance in the implementation of the study is provided by an Advisory Committee which include the Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, as the Chair, and representatives of partner organisations, the ILO, BGMEA, BKMEA, trade unions, major buyers, NGOs working on labour rights issues and senior researchers on the study team, as members.