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Trade Talk | October 2019

Supply chain actors connected at GOTS Bangladesh seminar

Connecting for Success was the theme of the second GOTS seminar in Dhaka on September 8, 2019. It was the second regional GOTS event in Bangladesh, after the one held in November 2016.

Around 330 participants from six countries congregated for fruitful discussions on sustainability and organic textiles. Including representatives from different stages of the manufacturing industry like spinning, knitting, wet processing, garmenting as well as buying houses, international brands, certification bodies, testing laboratories and academics.

The event was part of regional GOTS activities. With the aim to connect stakeholders and to receive feedback on the specific needs of local market players events of this kind are organised all over the world by GOTS representatives.

Sumit Gupta, GOTS representative in India and Bangladesh and seminar coordinator, opened the seminar with a welcome address, followed by the national anthem. The formal programme for the day ensued.

Session 1 titled ‘Connecting Sustainable Retail: Stories from Fashion Industry’. Claudia Kersten, GOTS Managing Director, moderated the session. Bruno Van Sieleghem from Stanley/Stella, Belgium and Jan Moritz from Julius Huepeden GmbH, Germany participated as speakers. The session revealed success stories from brands, market trends, and data about GOTS. Both brands reaffirmed their commitment to sustainability and buying GOTS-certified products.

Session 2 named ‘Technical Criteria and Implementation’. Rahul Bhajekar, GOTS Managing Director was the moderator and session speaker. Further, Sumit Gupta, GOTS Deputy Director Standards Development and Quality Assurance and Prachi Gupta, GOTS Expert, Quality Assurance and Impact, shared their expertise as speakers and talked about important technical topics like GMO Testing and GOTS technical criteria. Besides, the speakers explained the existing software tool for certified entities the ‘GOTS Monitor (water/energy), and the ‘Central Database System’.

Session 3 was under the topic: ‘Connecting on the Job: Workers and Management’. Herbert Ladwig, GOTS Policy and Legal Advisor moderated the session. Armanul Azim, Tosrifa Industries Limited; Dr Uttam Kumar Das, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh; Abdul Mottaleb, CERES Bangladesh and Abdul Alim, Sustainable Management System Inc contributed as panelists. Primarily, this session examined collective bargaining and complaint procedures at factories in Bangladesh.

Session 4—Connecting Supply Chain Partners: Efficient Partnerships for Success—was moderated by Montashir Nahid, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The panellists—Md Humayun Kabir, Zaber & Zubair Fabrics; Md Sazzad Hossain, Fakir Knitwears; Naishadh Desai, Britacel Silicones, and Dr Binay Choudhury, Control Union Certification—brought their expertise to the stage. The session led to a very engaging discussion with the panelists and the audience.

Speakers and delegates provided numerous valuable inputs during this daylong seminar. Delegates highlighted the importance of traceability and transparency within the supply chain; communication of workers’ rights; an open and supportive attitude to collective bargaining; increased mutual consideration of certifications; capacity building among workers and the need for robust internal systems for certification bodies.

Furthermore, it was emphasised that GOTS helped to improve conditions in manufacturing units. For example, some factories installed an effluent treatment plant (ETP) to become GOTS certified. Sumit closed the event concluding, “The large turnout today is proof that GOTS successfully serves as a platform for its stakeholders to work on sustainable solutions together.”

Partners for the seminar:

  • Lead sponsors: Control Union Bangladesh & Britacel Silicones
  • Gold sponsors: Ecocert India and Ekolojik Tarim Kontrol Organizasyonu (ETKO)
  • Sliver sponsors: OneCert International, USB Certification, CCPB Srl, Texanlab Laboratories and Kingdom Holdings
  • Media partners: The RMG Times, Textile Today, Textile Focus and Apparel Views Bangladesh
  • Local organising partner: The RMG Times

GOTS is the stringent voluntary global standard for the entire post-harvest processing (including spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing and manufacturing) of apparel and home textiles made with certified organic fibre (such as organic cotton and organic wool), and includes both environmental and social criteria. Key provisions include a ban on the use of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), highly hazardous chemicals (such as azo dyes and formaldehyde), and child labour, while requiring strong social compliance management systems and strict waste water treatment practices.

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