Promoting sustainability in the textile and leather sector

Project description

Title: Sustainability in the Textile and Leather Sector (STILE)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
Country: Bangladesh
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Commerce (MoC)
Overall term: 2020 to 2023

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Context

Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of clothing and textiles after China. Its biggest export market in the European Union is Germany, where it generates a volume of USD 6.4 billion. The textile and leather industry is one of the country’s most important sources of income as more than 4.5 million people in Bangladesh work in the sector. 

Following tragic accidents at factories, Bangladesh has made considerable efforts to improve working conditions in them and comply with sustainability standards. Legislation and enforcement have developed significantly in the areas of trade unions, minimum wages and job security. 

Nevertheless, additional measures are needed to ensure social security and to safeguard employees and the environment. Currently, neither the Government nor the companies are sufficiently protecting the population and the environment.  

Recently the coronavirus crisis has led to a major fall in sales in the sector and is therefore threatening workplaces and income.

Objective

The Government and companies are implementing social and environmental standards in the textile and leather sector more effectively.

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Approach

The project observes social, economic and ecological standards and is promoting better cooperation between the Government and companies. 

In the long term, it is improving the skills of the work inspection authority and the environmental authority so they can better protect employees and the environment.

It also provides organisational development and advice to companies so they can better comply with state requirements. National suppliers receive training on order to obtain German ‘Green Button’ sustainability certification.  

Cooperation with women’s cafés and factories is also encouraging social dialogue and empowering employees to advocate compliance with sustainability standards.

Furthermore, the project is helping address the coronavirus pandemic by realising educational campaigns and training courses on hygiene measures in factories.

Last update: June 2021

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