The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) in Bangladesh and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly organised a roundtable discussion as part of a thought leadership programme called ‘Garment Sector Dialogue on Sustainibility’, held recently in Dhaka.
The event brought together apparel industry leaders, buyers and suppliers, as well as entrepreneurs looking to expand their knowledge about sustainable supply chains. Research comissioned by HSBC and UNDP, and conducted by PwC, was also presented during the session.
The research report was based on a series of consultations with buyers and suppliers on nine themes: women care, skills development, employing people with disabilities, equal pay, preventing water pollution, clean teachnology, resource effciency, entreprenuership and innovation. Report findings spanned from product divirsification, such as increasing capacity of manmade fibre based on forecasted global demand, to financing solutions with third parties to support the scale up of environmentally friendly practices.
Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Principal Coordinator (SDG Affairs) at the Prime Minister’s Office attended as Chief Guest. Dr Rubana Haque, President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP, Francois de Maricourt, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Bangladesh and Md. Mahbub ur Rahman, Deputy CEO and Country Head of Wholesale Banking, HSBC Bangladesh, were also present.
Commenting on the occasion Mr. Azad said ‘There needs to be a cultural shift regarding innovation. We need to innovate to be more productive, cut-cost and develop sustainable ideas and procedures. It is a continuous process and from the public sector we have introduced civil service award to recognise good work. I request others to encourage recognition to raise the innovative culture for the country.’
In his opening remarks, Francois de Maricourt, said, ‘As a leading global trade bank, we are ideally placed to support our customers and other companies as they seek to do business in a more responsible and sustainable way. HSBC recognises the catalyst role it can play through its lending activities and operations towards achieving the SDGs.’
Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP, noted in his closing remarks how the partnership between the UNDP and HSBC embodies a key priority for Bangladesh by demonstrating how the market and productive partnerships can create an enabling environment to achieve the SDGs.
Dr Rubana Huq,.BGMEA President, mentioned that 150 female garment sector workers are now enrolled in Asian Women’s University and will graduate next year. The students are receiving education that will enhance social and economic parity. She additionally mentioned digital application through which workers can be paid, spend, and transfer free of commission fee which she sees as crucial in employee benefit.
Her suggestion going forward was to onboard 500 factories as SDG factories, for which they will in the front line of pursuing SDG goals in their practices. This wll breing bring visibility and clarify the deliverables with concrete outcomes.
As part of an effort to grow innovation and foster uptake solutions that can increase sustainability, four entrepreneurs gave a presentation of their ventures: Dorji-e, an online platform for connecting tailors to fashion houses and households; Direct Fresh, who provides fresh produce to RMG workers via digitisation of payments; Epiphany Labs from Hong Kong, a design thinking firm which has used gamification with fashion students to build extra capacity; and SDI Academy from Singapore, who presented their skills development curriculum in middle management, communication, and entrepreneurship.
The key outcomes from the round table emphasised the need for sustainable supply chain financing, scaling inspirational practices in domestic brands and waste management, as well as innovation in middle management skills development.
HSBC and UNDP are in their second year of partnership, working together to promote sustainability and to unlock business opportunities through achieveing sustainable development goals.
Note: For further details of the research report and presentations mentioned in this release, please contact Tara Min Ju Lee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Farah Rahman, HSBC, Email: email@example.com, Cell: +880 1709 650934
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The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited is the founding member of the HSBC Group, which serves our customers through four global businesses: Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Global Private Banking. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 65 countries and territories in our geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,751bn at 30 June 2019, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.