A sweater manufacturing company located in Bhaluka, Mymensingh, Photo Credit : Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh’s green RMG factories

Despite lots of challenges, Bangladesh’s apparels makers have initiated to make factories environment friendly

Increasing number of factories have adopted green technology in their factories in the last few years.

In March this year, Bangladesh’s English language daily Dhaka Tribune reported that since 2011, a total of 67 Bangladeshi RMG factories have received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). USGBC is considered one of the top green building rating systems in the world.

The newspaper said that of the 67 factories, 13 have been rated platinum, 20 gold and five silver. At least 222 more factories have been registered with the USGBC for the LEED certification.

Another national daily Prothom Alo reported in 2016 that the top three environment-friendly garment and textile factories in the world are located in Bangladesh, keeping pace with the growing demand of green factories worldwide.

The newspaper said that the factories are: Envoy Textiles, Remi Holdings and Plummy Fashions.

It said that Vintage Denim Studio is the first factory to get LEED Platinum certificate in 2012. Shruti Textile Mills achieved the LEED Gold Certificate. Genesis Fashions and Genesis Washing received LEED Platinum Certificate. Osman Interlinings in Dhaka EPZ received LEED Gold Certificate. Tosrifa Industries of Northern Tosrifa Group achieved the LEED Gold Certificate. Two factories of BITOPI Group have LEED Gold Certificate. These are Remi Holdings and Tarasima Apparels. SQ Group has three LEED Platinum Certificates for three of its factories-SQ Birichina, SQ Collblanc and SQ Celsius-2. SQ Celsius has an LEED Gold Certificate.Envoy Textiles of Envoy Group has an LEED Platinum Certificate. Regency Garments (unit-1) of Chittagong EPZ has an LEED Gold Certificate. It is a US organisation. Green Textiles has a certified recognition.

Experts said that Bangladesh can use green factory as an issue of branding since consumers are now more concerned than ever before about how the production of their clothes affect the environment.

Entrepreneurs have said that Green factories are helping to recover the image harmed by the Rana Plaza tragedy which caused more than 1000 deaths and dozens injured.

“We have successfully established several top-rated eco-friendly factories which are rebuilding our image and drawing the attention of renowned global brands and retailers,” Plummy Fashions Ltd Managing Director Fazlul Haque is quoted as saying in the report in the Dhaka Tribune.

The newspaper reported that Plummy Fashions Ltd has scored 92 out of 110 in USGBC’s knitting category and is currently the greenest knitting factory in the world.

BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman said in an interview with the Dhaka Tribune that green factories have taken Bangladesh’s RMG sector to a new height in terms of environment-friendly manufacturing and compliance issues.

Cost

Factory insiders said that one of the reasons more factories are not turning into green factories are high establishment cost. They said that eco-friendly technology, water-saving technology, harvesting rain water, and using solar panels and servo motor for power generation can require more investment than the traditionally machineries.

However, in the long run green factories are profitable as a green factory uses 40% less energy, 41% less water and emits 35% less carbon compared to a regular RMG factory.

The Prothom Alo report said that Envoy Textiles invested Tk 14 billion, Remi Holdings Tk 1.2 billion and Plummy Fashions Tk 2.4 billion.

 

In an interview with Dhaka Tribune, Envoy Textiles Ltd managing director Abdus Salam Murshedy said that green factories provide better working environment and ensures workers’ safety, which boosts productivity.

Government loans

The Bangladesh government is also encouraging green factories as it offers low cost loan for the entrepreneurs. Factory insiders said that the government is providing loans at 9% interest.

Citing Bangladesh Bank, the Dhaka Tribune report said that in the 2015-16 fiscal year, banks and other financial institutions disbursed Tk46,590 crore in loans. Of that amount, Tk39,695 crore went to green factories, most of which are in the RMG sector.

 

 

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