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EU Due Diligence Directive crucial for Bangladesh RMG sector: Ambassador Whiteley

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The European Union (EU) Due Diligence Directive is very important for the Bangladesh ready-made garment sector, as exporters to the European Union need to carefully consider and address human rights and environmental standards, EU Ambassador Charles Whiteley has said.

EU policies, both internal and external, are guided by the European Green Deal and the EU Climate Law, he said at the third policy dialogue on Wednesday. The event, organised by the Sustainable Fashion Platform of Sweden in Dhaka city, focused on scaling up the Sweden-Bangladesh partnership on renewable energy linked to the RMG sector.

“In particular, the recent EU Due Diligence Directive is of high importance to the Bangladeshi RMG sector and in the context of Bangladesh's impending 2026 LDC graduation,” the EU diplomat said.

The Directive stipulates that companies exporting to the EU will need to carefully consider and address human rights and environmental standards in their operations and value chains, he added.

During his digital introductory remarks at the event, Swedish Minister of Foreign Trade and International Development Cooperation Johan Forssell said, “The RMG sector in Bangladesh is of high strategic and economic importance for both of our countries.”

And that Sweden was ready to support and partner up with Bangladesh in the green transition of the RMG-sector, he added, while speaking of the long and friendly relationship between Sweden and Bangladesh and how the area of sustainability would be a central element in the relations going forward.

In her speech on behalf of Team Sweden, Swedish Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexandra Berg von Linde said, “We see a great potential for Sweden and Bangladesh to cooperate within the area of renewable energy and in identifying opportunities, green solutions, and sustainable financing mechanisms to increase availability of renewable energy for the RMG industry.”

Speaking as the chief guest, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid emphasised: “Ensuring sustainability and decarbonization in the apparel industry has become an existential issue for Bangladesh. In times such as these, we need to work together in bringing solutions and working proactively, rather reactively.”

The high-level policy dialogue focused specifically on the establishment of Corporate Power Purchasing Agreements (CPPAs).

The Swedish RMG-brands associated with the Sustainable Fashion Platform, H&M Group, Ikea, and Lindex, made a joint presentation about the topic.

The brands’ presentation illustrated the importance of CPPAs for the green transition and continued competitiveness of the RMG sector in Bangladesh.

Md Mahbubur Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), and Abdullah Hil Rakib, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), among others, spoke.

The Sustainable Fashion Platform is a collaboration between the Embassy of Sweden in Bangladesh, Business Sweden, the Swedish RMG-brands H&M Group, IKEA, and Lindex, the Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), the Sweden-Bangladesh Business Council (SBBC), and the Swedish Energy Agency (SEA).

The purpose is to coordinate Swedish efforts on sustainability within the RMG-sector in Bangladesh under one umbrella. This policy dialogue, which aims to continue to strengthen the sustainable partnership between Sweden and Bangladesh, was organised as a part of the initiative.

 

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