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DHAKA – A new transparency tool has been launched which maps all export-orientated ready-made garment factories in the Dhaka District of Bangladesh. Funded by the C&A Foundation, Mapped in Bangladesh has been developed by BRAC University. The tool is based on the collection of primary data on export-oriented factories across the Dhaka district which has been published online in an interactive, digital map, with information painstakingly gathered using a door-to-door approach, visiting each factory to gather the data.

The public database maps each factory’s name, GPS location, postal address, number of workers, products produced, export countries, brands and buyers, and memberships, affiliations, and certifications.

Linda Patentas, programme manager for cities, supply chains, and migration, BRAC USA said: “Mapped in Bangladesh enables a collective action approach to advancements in the garment sector by bringing together key industry stakeholders. Transparency tools like Mapped in Bangladesh can continue to strengthen improvements and facilitate growth in the ready-made garment industry.”

Mapped in Bangladesh is guided by an expert project advisory committee, which includes representatives from rights-based organisations, research organisations, international brands, NGOs, major industry associations, and the Government of Bangladesh.

“The government, city planners, and civil society organisations can utilise this map’s industry dispersion and concentration data. The industry can also use the tool to showcase its capability and enable greater efficiency,” added Syed Hasibuddin Hussain, manager of the project.

“But most of all, as an academic organisation, we feel excited by the prospect that this user-friendly resource can support future research initiatives.”

Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said: “This transparency initiative serves as a starting point toward re-branding Bangladesh’s apparel industry.

“We have made tremendous progress in safety and sustainability of the industry in recent years. The BGMEA engaged and facilitated this initiative to promote transparency of this industry.

“We believe the digital map will empower stakeholders across the industry, including factories, brands and retailers, and government through establishing a better understanding about the industry and will help the users with correct and real-time information. This will strengthen the effectiveness of improvements already underway.”

An expanded map, incorporating factories from across the country, is expected to be completed in 2021

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