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Dhaka Apparel Summit to Focus on Sustainability, Compliance

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Bangladesh will host the first ever Dhaka Apparel Summit at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center this Dec. 7-9 to discuss shaping a more sustainable and responsible global supply chain as Bangladesh becomes an increasingly relevant low-cost sourcing hub.

The country is aware of its challenges having spent much of the last year working to reform its apparel industry after deadly safety fails cast the sector in a negative light, but discussions set to take place will center around improvement.

“The Dhaka Apparel Summit is organized with the objective of opening and furthering such dialogue to frame a sustainable road map on building responsible supply chains in the textiles and garment sector that contribute to its sustainable development and inclusive growth of the economy,” the Summit’s website noted.

Panel discussions will cover everything from infrastructure and supply chain issues, to meeting environmental sustainability standards, to workplace safety and sustainable production. One session, titled, “Reinventing the Apparel Model – The Race to Responsible Sourcing and Productivity Enhancement,” will focus on the “strategic path of Bangladesh’s garment industry, an evaluation of this industry in terms of capacity to value addition, product innovation and diversity, availability of skills & expertise, and moving upward from the bottom of the fashion pyramid.”

Top speakers include Francois de Maricourt, CEO of HSBC Bangladesh, Wilma Wallace, deputy general counsel and vice president of Gap Inc., and Harvard Law School professor Arnold M. Zack, arbitrator and mediator. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the summit.

“At present, the country’s RMG market share is 5 percent and to reach the vision of 2021 to become a middle-income country, we have to grab 8 percent share in the global market,” BGMEA president Atiqul Islam said in a statement last month. “We want to earn $50bn from exporting RMG product by 2021,” he added, which would mark the fiftieth anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence.

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