Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands, will arrive in Dhaka on September 28 on a two-day visit to discuss cooperation on readymade garment industry for sustainable sourcing and growth.
The main focus of her visit will be to attend the conference on Sustainable Sourcing in the Garment Sector (SSGS) to be held on September 29 here, according to Dutch Embassy in Dhaka.
"Closer cooperation, based on transparency and mutual trust, will create more effective partnerships," said a press statement mentioning that this will have a positive impact on the efficiency of the value chain and will also encourage buyers and producers to share responsibility for raising social and environmental standards.
The garment sector is the backbone of Bangladesh' exports, representing close to 80 per cent of the overall export earnings.
Together with the private sector, associations such as the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and knowledge institutes in the Netherlands as well as the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Netherlands wants to support the industry to grow in a responsible manner, said the Dutch embassy.
"Sourcing practices are not always in line with this aim. Unreasonably short lead times, lack of mutual trust and transparency, or an exclusive focus on the lowest price easily result in excessive working hours or cutting corners with environmental standards," the Dutch Embassy press statement read.
That is why the conference on Sustainable Sourcing in the Garment Sector is being organised in partnership with the International Apparel Federation (IAF) and the BGMEA: the conference will show that sustainable sourcing makes sense and is good business for buyers and suppliers alike.
Solutions can be found in addressing the challenges together by transparent buying and purchasing practices, it said.
"These should be agreed upon in the initial stage of a business relationship. Today competition on price is so fierce that it threatens to become a danger for the sustainability of the garment sector as a whole,” it added.
A combination of buyers, producers and independent experts will present practical solutions and new models for collaboration and costing at the conference.
Together with Commerce Minsiter Tofail Ahmed, Minister Ploumen will open the conference on Sustainable Sourcing in the Garment Sector.
This conference will mark the start of a multi-stakeholder approach towards improved social and environmental standards in the global textile sector, which will be followed up directly by conference partner IAF.
The rest of the two-day visit of Minister Ploumen will focus on the Leave No One Behind Agenda: the need to put all efforts on reaching the poorest groups in the fight against poverty, starting now.
Minister Ploumen will visit several projects that focus amongst others on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), including a visit to the IMAGE project: initiatives for married adolescent girls' empowerment, according to a news agency.