SNV at Sustainable Apparel and Textiles Conference

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Join SNV in Bangladesh at the virtual 2020 Sustainable Apparel and Textiles Conference to learn about our Working with Women project II, and how inclusive business models are simultaneously benefiting business owners and thousands of readymade garment (RMG) workers in Bangladesh.

As a result of the significant public health concerns around COVID-19, this year’s conference will be moving to an interactive virtual conference.

About the conference

On 27-29 April, more than 200 delegates representing corporates, NGOs, suppliers, traders, development agencies, investors, government bodies and other relevant organisations will meet via a virtual platform. Through focused discussions, the three-day conference will address how apparel brands can adapt practices to deliver on growing stakeholder expectations, how they can transform factories, engage consumers, drive circularity and reduce climate impacts across fashion and textile supply chains.

Attendees will represent a broad range of the key stakeholders involved in defining, planning and implementing sustainable practices across apparel and textile supply chains. Delegates range from senior management to CEO level, primarily from CSR, sustainability, supply chain, procurement, ethical trade, corporate affairs and corporate communication functions.

The conference is organised by Innovation Forum in collaboration with other partners. Learn more about the conference here.

SNV at the conference

On 28 April at 14:00 local time, SNV’s Inclusive Business Programme Team leader Fartheeba Rahat Khan will be speaking during the breakout session ‘Social track - Women’s empowerment from farm to factory: The SDG mandate is clear, but how can bands implement programs that scale’, highlighting the challenges faced in ensuring a truly ethical supply chain and how business can deliver a clear, positive impact for workers.

Building on the success of a three-year pilot initiative from 2014 to 2017, and aligned with the SDG5, SNV's Working with Women Phase-II project leverages a collaborative approach to improve the health and wellbeing of garment workers in Bangladesh through Inclusive Business (IB) practices across the RMG value chain.

In the Bangladeshi economy, the RMG industry has been the prime source of growth over the years, contributing with 84 percent of total exports of the country with its growing 4621 garments factories in 2018-2019 (BGMEA, 2019), currently employing 4.2 million workers, an estimated 60.8 percent of them being women. Most RMG workers, often migrants from disadvantaged backgrounds, suffer various issues related to health, gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

SNV’s Working with Women Phase – I attempted to improve a part of it by focusing on SRHR services and products for garment workers. Drawing on SNV’s extensive experience of engaging with business communities to promote responsible and inclusive business, the Working with Women Project-II integrated three IB models in 10 partner factories to harness market mechanisms to deliver win-win solutions for businesses and their workforce.

The project follows a three-tier approach:

  1. Educating garment management on laws and policies related to SRHR and health for workers;

  2. Scaling three IB models and fine-tuning them to a more concrete adoption across the garment sector;

  3. Engaging more private companies to design affordable accessible solutions and service packages for garment workers.

Funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the project attempts to ensure access to health and SRHR products and services, as well as generating awareness about SRHR laws and policies among RMG workers. SNV aims to reach more stakeholders to strengthen our efforts in providing better solutions, and in creating gender friendly workplaces.

More about the project: