Bangladesh to Lead in Garment Industry Transparency

by C&A Foundation, BRAC University, BRAC USA, BGMEA on Jul 29, 2017

Today a major initiative to map all apparel factories in Bangladesh was launched. The project called 'Digital RMG Factory Mapping in Bangladesh' (DRFM-B) is the first ever of its kind to attempt to digitally map the entire garment sector in Bangladesh and marks a transformative industry shift toward more transparency.

This locally owned and managed project will collect credible, comprehensive and accurate data on factories across Bangladesh and disclose it in a publicly available, online map. The map will provide a detailed industry-wide database of factories, including names, locations, numbers of workers, product type, export country, certifications, brand customers, etc. Verification will be crowdsourced from the public to ensure that information remains up-to-date and accurate.

The digital mapping project will be implemented by BRAC University's Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, coordinated by BRAC USA, with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) as strategic partner, along with lead funding from C&A Foundation. DRFM-B will be guided by a multi-stakeholder Project Advisory Committee, including representatives of workers, NGOs, employers, and industry associations.

“DRFM-B is driven by the fundamental belief that transparency and traceability lead to long-term industry advancements and improved working conditions.”

Programme Manager C&A Foundation, Supply Chain Innovation & Transformation Naureen Chowdury

''This project will send a strong signal to all stakeholders that transformative change is happening within the ready-made garment sector. Through its mapping and relationship building, DRFM-B will fuel Bangladesh's garment industry advancements, inspire shared responsibility, responsible sourcing, collective action, and builds upon pre-existing improvement efforts through informed decision-making,'' says Parveen S. Huda, Project Manager DRFM-B.

For more than 30 years, the apparel industry has dominated the Bangladeshi economy, making it the world's second largest garment-producing country. ''DRFM-B is driven by the fundamental belief that transparency and traceability lead to long-term industry advancements and improved working conditions. By funding this project, we aim to increase industry accountability to transform fashion into a force for good,'' says Naureen Chowdhury, C&A Foundation Program Manager Supply Chain Innovation & Transformation.

''This transparency initiative would significantly complement our ongoing efforts towards enhanced, more risk-averse supply chains. We believe it will empower stakeholders across the industry, including workers, factory authority, brands, government, and civil society organizations to create positive changes and strengthen the effectiveness of improvements already underway. We hope this will be instrumental toward establishing a strong marketing and branding tool for the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh through increased accessibility of information,'' adds Mr. Md. Siddiqur Rahman, BGMEA President.

The launching ceremony of DRFM-B kicks off on July 29 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with attendance of the honourable Minister, Ministry of Commerce, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh; President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA); Vice Chancellor, BRAC University; and Adviser, Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), BRAC University.
The public map will go live in mid-2018 with the Dhaka cluster. The final version of the map showcasing all 20 Bangladeshi garment-producing districts is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

About BRAC University's Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED)

BRAC University's CED started its journey in April 2011 with the intention to encourage Bangladeshi entrepreneurs through engendering of entrepreneurial knowledge and skill. It strives to engage promising Bangladeshi entrepreneurs in innovative thinking, and facilitates the development and expansion of their ideas by building critical entrepreneurial expertise and networks. CED is committed to the qualitative improvement of entrepreneurship in Bangladesh and thereby the country's socio-economic development. www.ced.bracu.ac.bd

About BRAC USA

BRAC USA is the North American BRAC affiliate, which builds awareness of the work being done by the larger organization in 11 developing countries and mobilizes resources to underpin the programs of BRAC, BRAC International, and BRAC University. BRAC USA is an independent 501(c)(3) organization with its own Board and resources, and works hand in glove with its Asian and African counterparts to design and implement cost-effective, evidence-based poverty innovations in extremely poor, conflict-prone, and post-disaster settings. www.bracusa.org

About C&A Foundation

C&A Foundation is a corporate foundation here to transform the fashion industry. We give our partners financial support, expertise and networks so they can make the fashion industry work better for every person it touches. We do this because we believe that despite the vast and complex challenges we face, we can work together to make fashion a force for good. www.candafoundation.org


About BGMEA

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is one of the largest trade associations in Bangladesh representing the readymade garment industry, particularly the woven garments, knitwear and sweater sub-sectors with equal importance. Starting its journey in 1983 today BGMEA takes care of an industry that is at the backbone of Bangladesh's economy. BGMEA is dedicated to promote and facilitate the apparel industry through policy advocacy to the government, services to members, as well as ensuring legitimate rights and dignity of the workers. www.bgmea.com.bd