Although Bangladesh's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Financing Strategy expects a 42% contribution from the private sector, no consolidated industry impact on SDGs has yet been reported.
While some individual factories produce sustainability reports, the appreciation of the magnitude of the impacts has so far remained outside of systematic studies and reporting, making it difficult to understand industry trends and align private sector efforts to government goals.
"In Bangladesh, the RMG sector not only contributes to economic development but also to SDG achievement. It provides employment; supports healthcare of the workforce; invests in up-skilling the workforce; adopts resource recycling; increasingly uses renewable energy," UNDP Resident Representative Sudipto Mukerjee said.
So, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), and the Global Reporting Initiative have taken the first step towards a consolidated industry approach to private sector sustainability reporting.
In the past months, 47 BGMEA member factories conducted sustainability self-reporting – translating their impact into the language of National Priority Indicators (NPIs) and SDGs.
The efforts of the factories were consolidated in the report – "A Pathway to Manage Private Sector Impact on Bangladesh National Priority Indicators (NPIs) & Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)" – unveiled on Sunday.
Also, the factories got a certificate of appreciation at the event for their contribution to NPIs and SDGs through sustainability reporting.
"With this report, we wanted to measure the readymade garment (RMG) industry's impact on SDGs to communicate with key stakeholders, such as the government, buyers, trade partners, and communities so that we can take action to support the country together," BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq said.
"We hope to inspire more RMG factories and other industries to undertake sustainability reporting in the future as it is a key step in the journey of translating the private sector contribution to SDG financing into concrete achievements and future actions."