Fashion stops at the climate. Suppliers trying to act

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Brands have goals for sustainability, but are far from achieving them. With much of the fashion industry’s footprint being generated in the supply chain, from farmers to manufacturers, this week’s supplier-led conference could offer a roadmap to closing that gap.

Fashion labels rarely own or directly oversee their supply chain, from sourcing raw materials to fabric production. That means the work to meet climate goals, which are increasingly ambitious and public about brands, needs to happen at a rate they have no direct control over. And, most of those jobs require significant investment. One reason climate progress remains slow is that suppliers, who tend to operate on thin margins, need more support from brands to enable a switch to renewable energy, for example — as well as laws and regulations to incentivize access to climate-friendly technologies. .

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On Tuesday, the Sustainable Clothing Forum in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, brought together brands and suppliers with union organizers, policymakers, garment workers advocates, academics and green technology companies — collectively representing more than 20 countries — to open up discussions on both sides. tables on climate action, safe working conditions, and other topics pervasive in the fashion supply chain.

What makes this week’s event stand out is that suppliers don’t just have a large presence — they create and organize it, bringing together people who know what needs to happen with people who can help make it happen. It’s rare for suppliers, brands, unions, and government officials to be in the same room discussing solutions together. That’s why Mostafiz Uddin, founder and CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange, and owner of a denim factory, said he organized the forum in Dhaka: to put needs and opportunities on one agenda — and so that Bangladesh can be an example to other countries. country of manufacture and for the brand.

The Sustainable Apparel Forum, held this week in Dhaka, is organized by the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange in partnership with the Bangladesh Apparel Manufacturers & Exporters Association.

Photo: Courtesy of Mostafiz Uddin

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