DHAKA – The first ever initiative on climate action focusing on the fashion & apparel sector, the Bangladesh Climate Action Forum, concluded this week. Organised by Bangladesh Apparel Exchange, the inaugural event brought together a diverse coalition of stakeholders from government, business, civil society, and academia. Further events are believed to be in the pipeline, with talk of staging an annual event in Bangladesh dedicated solely to climate issues in textile supply chains.
This year’s theme focused on the pivotal role of technology and innovation in creating sustainable production solutions and the need for collaborative financing to drive climate action.
With over 400 participants, the event featured a diverse array of sessions. Five panel discussions looked at decarbonization opportunities and challenges, policy development, best practices for sustainability and climate justice.
Over 40 industry leaders and dignitaries shared their insights and perspectives.
Md. Shahriar Alam, MP, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, shared details of the impact of climate projects supported by the trust fund, noting: “Our climate change trust fund, with an investment of around US$490m, has so far supported more than 850 adaptation and resilience projects in the vulnerable area.”
H.E. Charles Whiteley, ambassador & head of delegation at European Union in Bangladesh emphasised the need for collaborative action toward achieving, saying: “I think we are all learning to talk more about climate issues and how they are related to all aspects of life. I think what we are seeing here today at the Climate Action Forum is an outstanding demonstration of thinking global and acting local.”
Thijs Woudstra, deputy ambassador of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, highlighted the substantial environmental impact achieved through cooperation: “Through the PACT programme, the Dutch contribution helped the industry save more than half a million tons of greenhouse gases, which corresponds to taking 900 cars off the road.”
Michal Krejza, head of development cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, stressed the need for collective action: “The response to climate change obviously cannot be limited to public authorities alone. It will need the commitment of all through a whole-of-society approach,” he said.
Pallak Seth, founder & executive vice chairman of PDS Limited, focused on Bangladesh’s pivotal role in the global climate agenda. He said: “We consider Bangladesh one of our key partner countries. While we have a global sourcing organization, we commend Bangladesh for its world-leading steps in building climate resilience within its workforce and industry practices. These initiatives, driven by both the government and manufacturers, are remarkable.”
In his opening remarks, Mostafiz Uddin, Founder & CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange, expressed his satisfaction at the inclusion of the manufacturing sector in the climate action discourse: “Quite often, I see that at conferences we talk about climate action changes, mitigation, or resilience. But manufacturers are always missing from the discussion. And I’m happy that today it is happening in a manufacturing country,” he said.
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