Bangladesh Circular Economy Summit stresses circularity key to growth

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Fashion industry veterans, organisations and government officials came together for Bangladesh’s first Circular Economy Summit in Dhaka and emphasised the need to shift towards circularity for the country’s growth transition.

The Circular Economy Summit, which took place on 15 June, comprised plenary sessions, keynotes, presentations, a roundtable, and a fireside chat.

Mostafiz Uddin, founder and CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange, states the summit was aimed at finding opportunities for shifting Bangladesh from a linear to a circular business model, as well as fostering collaboration among stakeholders to promote a circular economy.

Pointing to the additional responsibility for apparel producers and manufacturers with the influx of green legislations in the EU, Md Atiqul Islam, Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation, said: “3R – reduce, recycle and reuse are key for sustainability. Moreover, extended product or producer responsibility as stipulated by the EU is going to be mandatory for apparel producers in Bangladesh. So, the importance of promoting circular fashion in the country cannot be overstated.”

Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP Special Envoy to Prime Minister of Bangladesh (Environment & Climate Change) and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC) said: ‘”In a traditional economy which is linear, we produce, consume and throw away. This is not sustainable. We need to make the shift from linear to a circular economy to keep resources in use for as long as possible and extract and harvest the maximum value from the products whilst in use. For that, the business cases for circularity have to be win-win for manufacturers and buyers.”

Anne Van Leeuwen, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, highlighted Bangladesh’s progress so far, as noted from the economic and social development indexes. She said it had the opportunity to be a leader in the circular economic model as well.

Leyla Ertur, head of sustainability at H&M Group, also agreed on the fashion industry’s need to accelerate towards circularity given the current challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Ertur continued: “We need to join forces to build a circular fashion ecosystem and Bangladesh is unique as the country with the world’s largest share of pre-consumer textile waste readily available for recycling. Bangladesh has a great potential to attract investments from local and foreign investors to scale up the production of high-value recycled fibres from pre-consumer waste. However, we are well aware the industry needs advancing policies to regulate the waste handling sector in order to move forward in this area.”

Some noted speakers in the opening plenary included Md Atiqul Islam, Mayor, Dhaka North City Corporation; Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, special envoy to Prime Minister of Bangladesh (Environment & Climate Change) and chairman, parliamentary standing committee on MOEFCC; Anne Van Leeuwen, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bangladesh; Edimon Ginting, country director, Bangladesh Resident Mission, Asian Development Bank; Dr Bernd Spanier, deputy head of delegation, delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh;
Leyla Ertur, head of sustainability, H&M Group; and Mostafiz Uddin, founder and CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange.

The summit was organised by Bangladesh Apparel Exchange in collaboration with Laudes Foundation and P4G. It was powered by GIZ, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Bangladesh, and H&M Group.

Earlier this month, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with H&M Group for a partnership towards a circular and climate-neutral garment sector in Bangladesh.

Source : Just Style