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CSR improvements benefiting garment producers in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi garment manufacturers participating in CBI’s Export Coaching Programme (ECP) “Best Practice Garments Bangladesh” are showing great progress in areas that include export marketing, product development, production efficiency and CSR. As a result, potential buyers are showing increasing interest in sourcing their products.

Trade mission

In the framework of the ECP Bangladeshi companies are being coached and trained by CBI consultants. Furthermore, in May this year a Dutch trade mission comprising Dutch buyers from several renowned retail brands visited garment manufacturers in Bangladesh.

Eye-opener

An example of the coaching given to the ECP participants was the hands-on training provided by CBI consultants Serge Léon and Wouter Put to 23 Bangladeshi companies on process control, as well as the important role that CSR can play in their operations. “We showed these companies that far from just costing them money, CSR will generate income, thanks to improved productivity. It was a real eye-opener for them,” said Léon. “The results of a year’s intensive coaching and training can now be seen in their showrooms, the quality of their products and the conditions in their workplaces.”

Impressive results

Thanks to the CSR training, the participating Bangladeshi companies, which are now really taking CSR seriously, have realised some impressive results. Improvements include banning the use of carcinogenic stain removers and better safety for all factory workers. In laundries and dye shops, improvements have been pushed through in the use and storage of chemicals, as well as in the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Furthermore, hazardous situations in the area of fire safety have been eliminated and workers rights are now displayed.

Buyers’ interest

As part of the market-entry support for the companies in CBI’s export coaching programme, CBI expert Dhyana van der Pols, supported by CBI’s expert in Bangladesh Minhajul Islam, organised a buyers’ mission with seven well-known Dutch brands. The buyers showed genuine interest in the Bangladeshi companies that have made it through a pre-selection process and received CBI training in EU manufacturing requirements. According to Van der Pols, more such missions will probably be arranged in the future. To facilitate CBI-supported matchmaking activities, a website has been constructed, listing the Bangladeshi companies and where prospective buyers can source relevant information. The website will remain available for the duration of the ECP.

Roadmap

In conclusion, Léon explains that he has drawn up a roadmap for advising Bangladeshi companies about CSR, one that will make their results measurable. “Action points are clearly indicated in the roadmap and the companies will be visited twice a year to make sure improvements are being made and that they are, indeed, keeping up the good work.”