In Bangladesh, more than 4 million people are employed in garment manufacturing, and 90% of them are women. It’s an industry that accounts for 20% of Bangladesh’s GDP and in light of much negative press manufacturing companies are keen to invest in ethical working conditions and practices.
“The next hot spot,” with these words, in 2011, the McKinsey’s report defined the Bangladeshi ready-to-wear garment industry. As a consequence of the decreasing economic trends of the Far-East super-powers, today Bangladesh is no doubt the main productive hub for the textile sector in the world.
According to latest data published by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), currently the garment making industry is the backbone of the country’s economy: it holds a share of 82% of the total national export, which accounts for 20% of Bangladesh’s GDP, with a turnover that exceeds USD 28 million.
The figure gives some hint of the impact of the sector on the social fabric of Bangladesh: in order to improve the working conditions in the ready-to-wear garment industry, it needs investments and commitment to create a better productive pattern.
One such company taking this fully on board is M&J Group, this manufacturing group has collaborated with local institutions and is determined to answer the international demand for higher standards in textile production.
Along with reduction of the environmental footprint and the development of production efficiency, human resources enhancement is one of the core value of M&J Group, which is happy to announce that Genesis Fashions Ltd (factory pictured below), one of the Group’s main concerns, achieved the certification of Registered Training Organization by the Bangladeshi Government and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in the framework of the Ready-Made Garment Center of Excellence project (COE).
The COE Project is designed to establish in Bangladesh a replicable model of an industry-driven training and support services Centre of Excellence for the Ready Made Garment sector. This will implement certified training within the national skills development policy (NSDP) of Bangladesh.
The project, financed by Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the fashion company H&M, is based on the fundamental principle that with an industry-based training focus, the initiative can effectively increase employability and drive higher incomes for the working poor. The project delivers training and certification for instructors, industry trainers and assessors as well as briefings for managers and executives of enterprises. Consistent with employment in the industry, the majority of beneficiaries are women and there is a target of 5% for people with disabilities.
- “We are extremely proud: we have worked so hard for our country and this certification represents the edge of a long work, which has been rewarded today,” stated Munir Ahmed, owner of M&J Group.
The company now hopes to have set a precedent to the many other manufacturing units across the country. Bangladesh has a long way to go before shaking off its unethical, sweatshop image but if it wants to retain its vast manufacturing industry then such changes and implementation is most definitely the way forward.