[Dhaka, Bangladesh, December 5, 2023]
A Workshop on Advancing Circular Textiles Policies in Bangladesh, under the UNIDO-led SWITCH to Circular Value Chains project (SWITCH2CE), marked a crucial step in guiding Bangladesh's apparel sector toward circularity. The event, organized by Policy Exchange and Chatham House, was held on December 5, 2023, at the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MCCI), and convened key stakeholders from the private sector, government agencies, and development partners to discuss global development, challenges, and policy priorities for Bangladesh.
Industry leaders, policymakers, development partners, and experts gathered to emphasize the urgency of accelerating circular economy initiatives in the country.
M. Masrur Reaz, Chairman of Policy Exchange, suggested that collaborative efforts with stakeholders, including RMG factory owners, buyers, and regulatory authorities such as BGMEA and the government of Bangladesh, can effectively resolve the barriers and constraints hindering the progress of circularity in the industry.
Mr. Edwin Koekkoek, Team Leader for Green Inclusive Development at the Delegation of the European Union of Bangladesh highlighted that the European Union (EU) is working closely with countries like Bangladesh to promote innovative circular economy approaches, and that circularity is a core element of the European Green Deal, the EU’s agenda for sustainable growth.
Dr. Zaki Uz Zaman, Country Representative of UNIDO in Bangladesh, and Ms. Vidiya Khan, Deputy Managing Director at BGMEA, provided insights into the inadequate legal structure of waste management and production in the textile and RMG value chain, the lack of understanding in the ownership and responsibility of waste, and the necessity to formalize the “Jhut” value chain to enable the government to generate revenue.
Mr. Abdur Rahim Khan, Additional Secretary (Head of Export Wing) at the Ministry of Commerce, emphasized the critical need to identify specific areas requiring policy interventions, determine the types of technologies essential for recycling in the value chain, and devise strategies to motivate investors to contribute more to recycling initiatives. Additionally, he highlighted the significance of developing the capacity to effectively implement circularity policies.
Economist and Senior Manager of Policy Exchange, Mr. Hasnat Alam, delivered a keynote addressing lessons learned from international experiences and their relevance to Bangladesh's textile and garment sector. He illuminated global strategies for circular economies in major Textile producing nations and the opportunities for Bangladesh to adopt similar practices.
Mr. Patrick Schröder, Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House, presented on advancing circular textiles policies in Bangladesh. His comprehensive discussion outlined a roadmap for a robust circular economy policy framework. Mr. Schröder's expertise shed light on key strategies and considerations vital for the successful implementation of circular textiles policies.
This high-level workshop signifies Bangladesh's commitment to embracing circular economy principles and catalyzing sustainable change across industries. With collaboration and determination, Bangladesh is poised to propel itself towards a more resilient, resource-efficient future.