February 6, 2023, 11:35 am

Diplomatic correspondent

2022-12-08 23:35:06 BdST

Dialogue on Sweden-Bangladesh Partnership in Renewable Energy within the RMG-sector

The first Policy Dialogue was held within the newly launched initiative called the “Sustainable Fashion Platform” by Sweden in Bangladesh.

The event held on Wednesday, focused on scaling up the Sweden-Bangladesh partnership in renewable energy within the RMG-sector.

Alexandra Berg von Linde, Ambassador of Sweden to Bangladesh hosted the event and Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Affairs was Chief Guest.

The Embassy of Sweden in Bangladesh, together with the Swedish brands H&M, IKEA, and Lindex, along with the Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) and the Sweden-Bangladesh Business Council (SBBC), has set up an initiative called “Sustainable Fashion Platform” to combine and coordinate the efforts on sustainability within the RMG sector in Bangladesh under one umbrella.

The discussion was organised as a part of the initiative, which aims to strengthen Bangladesh’s global competitiveness and, at the same time, build a sustainable partnership.

During the event, the Swedish Minister of Foreign Trade and International Development Cooperation, Johan Forssell, made digital introductory remarks.

With the celebration of 50 years of bilateral relations between Sweden and Bangladesh as a backdrop, the Swedish Minister said that “Sweden wants to continue our common journey ahead. Sustainability will be an important part of our future bilateral ties and we look forward to enhancingour partnership within the green transition”.

Ms. Alexandra Berg von Linde, Ambassador of Sweden to Bangladesh said that “Sweden sees potential for cooperation on sustainability within the RMG-sector. Both to sustain and strengthen Bangladesh’s competitiveness and responding to the Swedish RMG-brands ambitious climate goals, forthcoming EU regulations on sustainability, our overall global commitments and the changing consumer demands”.

Ambassador Berg von Linde also underlined that Swedish green tech companies have a lot to offer in the wider domain of sustainability, bothwhen it comes to services and solutions.

Md. Habibur Rahman, Secretary, Power Division, Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Ms. Munira Sultana, Chairperson, Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) and Faruque Hassan, President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) participated as Special Guests.

Charles Whiteley, Ambassador of the European Union, Mehdi Hasan, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Sweden, Stefan Liller, Resident Representative of UNDP and Tahrin Aman, President of the Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry delivered statements at the event.

The Swedish RMG-brands associated with the Sustainable Fashion Platform, H&M, IKEA and Lindex, made a joint presentation during the event and Business Sweden informed about the matchmaking activities organised within the initiative, that took place between Swedish RMG-brands, their suppliers and Swedish green tech companies, in September 2022, with the purpose of finding new arenas for collaborations.

It may be mentioned that the RMG-sector in Bangladesh is of high strategic and economic importance for both Sweden and Bangladesh, in terms of trade, growth potential and employment opportunities.

The Swedish RMG-brands connected to the Sustainable Fashion Platform have a strong presence in Bangladesh and have more than 3 billion USD in annual exports from Bangladesh, more than 200 suppliers and more than 500 000 workers in partner factories.

The RMG-brands have all set ambitious climate goalswhich, in addition to forthcoming EU due diligence regulations on sustainability, makes it necessary to reform their global supply chains. The objectives of the policy dialogues are therefore to explore ways for Sweden and Bangladesh to further cooperate within sustainability and the green transition.

A Sweden-Bangladesh collaboration in this area has the potential to increase sustainable apparel manufacturing locally, as well as sustain and strengthen Bangladesh’s competitiveness globally. 

The platform, initiated by the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka and Business Sweden aims at combining and coordinating the effortson sustainability within the RMG-sector, as well as exploring opportunities for Sweden and Bangladesh to partner up and jointly promote sustainability.

The Sustainable Fashion Platform has three thematic priorities– renewable energy, circularity and water – that are of great importance to the green transformation of the RMG-industry. The initiative includes two main tracks: policy dialogue with key stakeholders and matchmaking with RMG-brands and Swedish green tech companies.

Swedish companies are world-leading when it comes to innovation and offer cutting-edge green and climate-smart technologies, advanced skills, solutions, and services that Bangladesh will find interesting on its path of continued sustainable development.

Within the framework of the Sustainable Fashion Platform, matchmaking activities between Swedish RMG-brands, their suppliers in Bangladesh and Swedish green tech companies, will therefore be held yearly with the aim of promoting and accelerating the adoption of suitable technology solutions in the sector. 

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