Radisson Garments Ltd. textile factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Here textiles are produced according to the Green Button standards.

Core area “Sustainable economic development, training and employment” Social and environmental standards

Germany is calling for Bangladesh's textile manufacturers to comply with social and environmental standards so that the work and safety conditions for their employees improve. To achieve this, the BMZ is helping Bangladesh to train state-approved health and safety inspectors and to ensure the safe disposal of industrial waste.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, making the best possible use of the economic potential of the textile and leather sector proved challenging – even if progress has been achieved in recent years, in particular in terms of workplace safety.

Significant price pressure in the textiles industry continues to create an environment in which sustainability standards only play a negligible role. Safety at work, the management of the environment and resources and waste disposal are often not in line with international minimum standards.

Germany, with support from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Netherlands, is advising the Government of Bangladesh on how to put in place a system of accident insurance for people working in the manufacturing of textiles, clothing and leather goods. In addition, financial institutions and textiles factories are being helped to invest in occupational and environmental safety measures and are being given advice on how best to make use of the offers of information and advanced training now available.

In the labour-intensive manufacturing sector, most of the employees on the factory floor – but not in management – are women. That is why the advisory services are primarily targeting female workers. With a view to supporting textile workers, employees in the textiles sector who were laid off during the crisis are being paid bridging allowances. Germany’s contribution here is giving 215,000 workers protection for three months.

Under a regional programme, producers in several Asian countries are being helped to network with each other, so that they can exchange information about initiatives and activities relating to sustainability standards and their experiences with, or the need for, action in this area. Moreover, Germany has helped to set up a regional network of non-governmental organisations which is campaigning for and defending women's rights in the textiles industry.

See also
The Green Button

In addition to these latest efforts, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles, launched by the BMZ in 2014, provides a platform for activities to improve environmental and social safeguards within the entire supply chain. Selected member companies that have joined the Green Button are enabled to acquire relevant certification. Some 50 factories in Bangladesh have started a qualification programme. Support is also being provided by fostering networking between Bangladesh universities and vocational training institutes and German universities and involving the private sector so that these institutions can better adapt to the needs of sustainable production in the textile sector.