A group of women and girls wearing headscarves sitting at a large glass-top table.

Promoting responsibility in the textile and leather sector

Sustainability in the Textile and Leather Sector (STILE)

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  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Country
  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2020 to 2024

  • Products and expertise

    Social development

A factory worker cutting textiles on a machine.


Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of clothing and textiles after China. The textile and leather industry is one of the country’s most important sources of income as more than four million people in Bangladesh work in the sector.

Following tragic incidents at factories, Bangladesh has made considerable efforts to improve working conditions and comply with sustainability standards. In collaboration with unions, the country has significantly enhanced legislation and its implementation, introduced minimum wages and increased workplace safety. However, further measures are required to ensure governmental institutions and businesses deliver social security and environmental protection. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to a major fall in sales in the sector, threatening jobs and income.

Several seamstresses in a women’s café playing a game that explains their rights.


The government and companies implement social and environmental standards in the textile and leather sector more effectively.


The project takes into account social, economic and ecological standards and promotes better cooperation between government and companies.

It works to improve the skills of labour and environmental inspection authorities so that they can better protect employees and the environment.

It also provides organisational development and advice to companies so they can comply more effectively with state requirements. National suppliers are supported in their efforts to obtain the German ‘Green Button’ sustainability certification.

Collaboration with women’s cafés and factories further reinforces social dialogue and empowers employees to promote sustainability standards.

In addition to this, the project has contributed to curbing the COVID-19 pandemic through educational campaigns and training courses on hygiene measures in factories.

Last update: October 2023

Additional information