Bangladesh’s readymade garment industry owners have sought support from major buyer countries in vaccination of workers to ensure smooth supply of products.
BGMEA president Faruque Hassan called for the support in a three separate letters to the European Union, US Embassy in Dhaka and Marks and Spencer Bangladesh Regional Office.
“But the speed of vaccination which is of dire essence for combating the COVID-19 pandemic, depends on the availability of vaccines. We seek your help and assistance in procuring vaccines for RMG workers and people of Bangladesh,” it said.
“If any excess vaccines can be allocated to Bangladesh, it will help the RMG sector and Bangladesh tremendously, and save the life and livelihood of millions of people,” BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said in the letter.
The letters were addressed to European Union ambassador and head of delegation Rensje Teerink, US Ambassador to Dhaka Earl R Miller and country manager of Marks and Spencer Bangladesh regional office, Dhaka Shwapna Bhowmick.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) already vaccinated workers of several factories in Gazipur, Dhaka area.
BGMEA said it successfully operated the factories maintaining health guidelines and safety protocols against the COVID-19.
“Some of key parameters for this recognition include Hygiene, Health and Safety, Waste management, Child and young labor, Labor practices, including forced labour, worker representation, disciplinary practices and discrimination, working hours and wages,” BGMEA said.
BGMEA leader said, “In the environmental sustainability front, we are in the leading position in the world in terms of green industrialization.”
“Bangladesh has the highest number of green factories with 143 factories LEED certified by the USGBC, of which 41 are Platinum and 89 Gold rated.”
“Besides, 500 more garment factories are in the process of being LEED certified,” he said,
USGBC has just bestowed BGMEA the “2021 leadership award”.
BGMEA has also joined the UNFCCC, the German Green Button initiative, and circular fashion project with GFA to attain environmental sustainability at the industry level.
“Since we were able to sustainably operate during the pandemic with strict health and safety protocol, we could keep the supply chain of garments afloat for the Western world,” said Faruque Hassan.
“As the second largest suppliers of garments to European Union, it’s important that we keep the RMG sector of Bangladesh operating in full throttle without any disruption,” he said.
He said the government has been very supportive of providing the RMG sector with the necessary vaccines.
“But the stock of available vaccines is the key issue in mass vaccination in the RMG sector,” he stressed.
Faruque Hassan added Bangladesh Health authority have proven its capabilities by successfully keep the routine child immunization programme active across the country even in the middle of the pandemic.