Bangladeshi apparel manufacturers are ready to comply with the new supply chain law in Germany to retain vive in the second-largest export destination, speakers opined.
The speakers also requested the government to complete the construction of central effluent treatment plant for leather industry to keep presence in German markets.
Ambassador Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan was the chief guest while BGCCI Chief Executive Officer Shahed Akhtar presided over the session.
German recently passed a new Supply Chain Act which directs large companies to become more responsible to regularly and systematically identify and address human rights and environmental risks in their direct supply chains.
Human rights and environmental protection measures related to the emission of noise and water consumption in production and in the whole supply chain would be assessed under the new law.
Germany is the second largest export destination for Bangladesh after United States of America. In fiscal year 2020-21, the country shipped over $5.6 billion worth of goods to the European country.
Of the goods, more than 95 per cent are garment items. At 148, Bangladesh has the highest number of green garment factories in the world. Another 500 are waiting to be certified by the US Green Building Council (USGBC).
Kuehne+Nagel Managing Director Tarun Patwary, Shinepukur Ceramics Chief Executive Officer Humayun Kabira and Walton Vice President Tauseef Al Mahmud also connected to the session.
Former NBR Chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said that Bangladeshi businessmen are very much aware of the law and the Government has already started reform.
“Bangladesh RMG sector is now well organised. The new supply chain act will affect more on the German business rather the businesses of Bangladesh if they do not take precautionary measures,” he said.
Eventually the Bangladeshi business houses will have to incur expenditure but in long run the business will improve, according to the policy expert.
The New Due Diligence Law of Germany will come into effect from January 2023 for companies with more than 3,000 employees. It will also be applicable to companies with 1,000 workers from January 2024.
CSI Managing Director Karl Borgschulze said manufacturers and exporters in Bangladesh are in good position for previous work and projects in the area of transparency, traceability and compliance.
“This is a high chance for Bangladesh to further strengthen their position by proactively offering solutions to German buyers,” Karl added.
Federal Association of the German Footwear and Leather Goods Industry General Manager Manfred Junkert focused on the fines related to violating the new law.
“A separate federal body on exports and imports will oversee the implementation of the law that will focus on human rights, green production facility and environmental protection in the supply chain,” he added.
BGMEA Director Asif Ashraf said the local garment factories are the safest workplace in the world after the implementation of the recommendations of the Accord and the Alliance, the two factory inspection bodies.
He emphasised that most of the Bangladeshi garment factories were certified by Sedex and Higgs Index, meaning they are maintaining compliance beyond standards.
Picard Bangladesh Deputy Managing Director Amrita Makin Islam said there is a need to disseminate information about the new law among the business community.
Of the top 10 leadership in energy and environmental design green buildings certified by the USGBC, nine are in Bangladesh, according to trade body data.