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DHAKA – An online ESG database is being developed to track sustainability performance of Bangladesh garment factories against 2030 targets. ESG (environment, social and governance) has risen up the agenda for fashion supply chains in recent years, and investor groups are looking closely at progress on environmental and social issues in the industry. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has created the database which will measure performance against 20 strategic sustainability goals by 2030.

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Sheikh H M Mustafiz, chairman of the BGMEA’s standing committee on sustainability, said each garment manufacturer would provide information to help understand their current status related to the 20 goals. These include areas such as water use, energy use and carbon emissions as well as use of different types of fibres such as recycled fibres.

“Currently, we don’t have any specific information on how many factories have solar panels or what they are doing to achieve the target of reducing 30 per cent carbon emission by 2030,” he said while speaking at a webinar hosted by the International Trade Centre (ITC). The ITC has launched a new publication ‘Good practices in the global apparel industry’.

The digital ESG database, which is expected to be launched early 2023, will also give an idea what measures are required to achieve the 2030 targets.

BGMEA’ environmental goals include manufacturing half of the apparel products by using recyclable materials by 2030, and reducing energy consumption and blue water footprint by 30 per cent and 50 per cent respectively.

Social targets include 100 per cent gender equality, inclusive and decent work, and institutionalisation of skill development and creation of six million jobs by 2030.

In addition, the governance targets include achieving US$100bn export earnings and 100 per cent data reporting, and raising productivity and efficiency to 60 per cent.

Fashion brands are becoming increasingly hot on environmental and social governance in their supply chains. Bangladesh has a number of issues in this area such as excessive water usage, weak labour standards, and inadequate waste management.

These could potentially harm export prospects.

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