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Going Green Vs Price Points: Apparel manufacturers caught in quandary!

by Apparel Resources

18-September-2018  |  5 mins read

Kaniz Fashions Limited

Bangladesh’s readymade garment industry has come a long, long way. Today, it boasts of having among the most exemplary line of compliant factories around the globe. As per reports, there are around 280 green factories in Bangladesh, amongst which 67 are certified by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Of the 67, several are Platinum rated, recognised for best practices in design, construction, and operations that protect the environment and human health.

At present, among the top 10 green factories in the world, 7 are reportedly of Bangladesh origin. The apex garment manufacturers’ body BGMEA in association with the USGBC and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) organised an event in March this year to recognise 13 LEED Platinum certified factories of Bangladesh namely, Remi Holdings Limited, Tarasima Apparels Limited, Plummy Fashions Limited, Vintage Denim Studio Limited, Columbia Washing Plant Limited, Echotex Limited, SQ Celsius Unit 2 Limited, Kaniz Fashions Limited, Genesis Washing Limited, Genesis Fashions Limited, SQ Birichina Limited, SQ ColBlanc Limited, and Envoy Textiles Limited, for their achievements.

Participating in the event, industry experts opined that green apparel factories of Bangladesh are creating examples of best practices around the globe, all the while contributing to overall sustainable, economic, and environmental development of the country.

“The RMG industry’s steps and achievements so far in environmental sustainability will contribute to usher in a new era in the industrial sector of Bangladesh,” reportedly stated Anisul Islam Mahmud, Ministry of Environment and Forests, at the event.

There’s no denying that going green has helped the apparel manufacturers to successfully counter the issue of image crisis that followed the industrial disasters of Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashions fire, which helped to reinstate the faith of the global brands and retailers in the industry, who not only continued sourcing from Bangladesh but also increased their order volumes significantly over the years. The results are here to see; Bangladesh today is the second biggest apparel exporter globally after China.

Nevertheless, despite all the success, going green has helped the manufacturers to achieve, the critical question of ethical or fair pricing is apparently still a major concern for the factory owners. Despite widespread international recognition, many still feel that it has not helped them where it really matters, generating revenue.

“It needs one-third more money to set up a green garment factory. If we do not make green garment factories we could have employed one-third more workers and increased our productivity. I regret I made green garment factories; the buyers do not pay even a single cent more for sourcing from a green garment factory,” reportedly underlined KM Rezaul Hasanat, CEO of Viyellatex Group, a leading garment exporter of the country while participating in a panel discussant at a dialogue on green compliance, held at the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) in Dhaka recently.

The MCCI, in partnership with Adam Smith International and UKAid, Bangladesh, organised the dialogue. Highlighting the pros and cons of going green, owner of another highly-rated green facility too, shared his thoughts on this issue.

“The green revolution has given the industry sustainability. As a result, we, the manufacturers, have gained confidence. It has opened up an opportunity to brand Bangladesh,” reportedly stated Md Fazlul Haque, Director of LEED certified Plummy Fashions, adding, “We have established green factories at huge costs. But, the buyers do not want to give us more than a Dollar for our products.” Not ready to put the complete onus on the buyers, Haque cited lack of bargaining skills of the manufacturers to get the desired price points, partly responsible.

Talking of prices, buyers apparently also have their own share of challenges, more so amidst rising competition, increased logistic cost and above all the overtly price-conscious end customer.

Nevertheless, considering the amount of investment that goes into making a fully-compliant, green facility, a little incentive from the buyers — be it in terms of better margins or increased and regular orders — could go miles in not just motivating the manufacturers but also to give a further boost to the green initiative to ensure long-term and sustainable business for both.