Bangladesh’s textile industry is the nation’s largest export sector.Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German federal agency that promotes sustainable development, and Huntsman Textile Effects, a leading provider of high quality dyes and textiles chemicals, have signed a cooperation to raise industry standards in the management of chemicals at textile mills in Bangladesh.
The cooperation has been formalised with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Huntsman Textile Effects and Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards (PSES), a textile industry initiative jointly developed by the governments of Bangladesh and Germany, and implemented by GIZ.
Peter Gregory, Brand & Retail Marketing Director of Huntsman Textile Effects, said: “As a global leader in the transition to a more sustainable textiles sector, we are pleased to join hands with GIZ in Bangladesh to help local factories optimise their production efficiency and environmental compliance whilst also building local competence to enable continued adoption.”
Ten mills have so far signed up to the partners’ GIZ Chemical Environmental Management for Competitiveness Program.
The programme will include managerial and technical training, audit and consultancy services and implementation support from local and international Environmental Management System experts from GIZ and Huntsman Textile Effects.
Working closely with the local textiles sector, the two partners will support the development of industry wide chemical management (CM) best practices in Bangladesh and accelerate the adoption of these practices.
Bangladesh’s textile industry
Bangladesh’s textile industry is the nation’s largest export sector. The ready-made (RMG) garment sector was worth US$19 billion in 2012, when more than 5,000 garment factories employed about 4 million people and accounted for 45% of all industrial workers.
To remain internationally competitive, local textile mills and RMG factories increasingly have to demonstrate that they operate in a socially and environmentally sustainable way, Huntsman reports.
Magnus Schmid, PSES Program Coordinator, commented: “Textile factories in Bangladesh are now taking environmental issues more seriously as regulatory requirements become stricter and the economic benefits of sustainability become more widely recognised.
PSES has already made a great impact with our CM training programme and other initiatives and we look forward to doing even more through our new partnership with Huntsman Textile Effects. With Huntsman, we are committed to helping the industry eliminate hazardous substances from the production process in order to achieve a cleaner and safer textiles sector.”
Support and consultancy
GIZ has actively supported the development of the textile sector in cooperation with the Bangladesh government for several decades. Through PSES, it has already trained more than 60 consultants from 20 service organisations in the use of its CM tool.
This CM tool covers the proper handling and storage of chemicals and seeks to improve workplace safety and compliance with environmental laws and achieve cost savings.
Huntsman Textile Effects will support this ongoing work, contributing expertise in the optimisation of washing and dyeing processes. It will also provide audit and consultancy services to local mills under its Productivity Improvement Program (PIP).