Zaber and Zubair Fabrics Ltd, a provider of home textiles to H&M and Lidl in Europe, is part of a growing number of Bangladeshi apparel firms committed to going green. To remove extra caustic, a substance that strengthens tissue, the industry formerly utilised significant volumes of sulfuric acid.The firm implemented two systems in 2010 that recover 95% of the lye from the water used to rinse textiles like bed sheets and pillowcases.
Solar panels on the roof of Zaber and Zubair Fabrics may generate roughly 400 kilowatts of electricity. The facilities cost roughly $ 2.3 million to build, but they saved the firm $ 3.8 million per year by decreasing chemical purchases, wastewater treatment, and energy consumption. “Using green energy or installing recycling systems saves money in the long run,” argues Zakir Hossen.
According to a 2020 study, Bangladesh’s garment industry is responsible for 4% of global emissions that are scorching the globe. The apparel industry employs over 4 million people and is the world’s second largest exporter of clothing. Although Bangladesh’s total emissions are negligible in comparison to rich countries, the apparel industry employs nearly 4 million people.
The International Finance Corporation’s Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) programme aims to assist Bangladeshi manufacturers in adopting cleaner production processes. PaCT is said to have assisted 338 factories in lowering their greenhouse gas emissions by more than half a million tonnes per year. “That’s the equivalent of taking almost 119,000 cars off the road,” Nishat Chowdhury, a programme executive producer, said.
PaCT, a green building assessment system, has approved over 140 factories in Bangladesh. According to manufacturing owners, such factories demand at least a 20% increase in capital investment. They claim that if buyers want their supply chains to be climate-neutral or climate-positive in the future, they will have to pay more. According to the government, it is attempting to encourage businesses to invest in green technologies.
“If (brands) are to reach this goal, they must offer a low price,” says Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association. The organisation has around 4,000 members. It is the world’s first trade association to call on companies to commit to renewable energy by. However, according to Mohammad Tamim, dean of the School of Engineering at Bangladesh, most factories will not become entirely “climate positive.”
Following thousands of job losses at the outset of the COVID-19 epidemic last year, suppliers foresee various consequences on the sector’s workforce. Because fashion changes so quickly, some vendors believe the apparel business is less suited to high levels of automation. Kalpona Akter, a labour rights campaigner, believes that moving to green energy is the only option. “Fossil fuel energy is harmful to our environment and species, and there is no way to stop automation,” she stated.
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