Bangladesh should adopt its own policy on achieving green growth instead of following others’ path, keeping issues of job creation and sustainability in mind, said experts and businesses on Sunday.
In adopting the technology for green growth, the issue of financing problem for the small and medium industries including readymade garment factories should be solved as there is scarcity of government fund to meet the financing demand, they said.
They came up with the suggestions while addressing at a discussion on green compliance jointly organised by Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Adam Smith International at the chamber building in Dhaka.
MCCI vice-president Golam Mainuddin presided over the discussion where Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director Fahmida Khatun, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association director and Bitopi Group managing director Miran Ali and Viyellatex chief executive officer KM Rezaul Hasanat spoke, among others.
Fahmida said, ‘We cannot follow the same path that the developed countries have followed.’
‘Instead we will have to adopt green growth strategy
that will be sustainable for us and not prescribed by others,’ she said.
Fahmida also mentioned that the policymakers would have to keep in mind while adopting policy whether the policy would ensure job creation as there were high chances that the new technology would reduce job opportunity.
‘Besides, whether the green growth policy would ensure inclusive growth should also be taken into consideration,’ she said.
Speaking on the huge financing issue that would be required for installation of green factories or industries, Fahmida said, ‘Unfortunately the budget for the environment ministry is less than one per cent of the fiscal budget and here comes the role of private sector.’
Rezaul mentioned that the Bangladesh’s per capita carbon emission was 0.46 tonnes, whereas the figure was 20 tonnes in the USA and 22 tonnes in Canada and Australia.
‘Despite the fact, we are getting prescriptions from them to reduce carbon emission and for green growth,’ he said.
‘Bangladesh should carry out a campaign so that we are declared as a green country considering the carbon emission value,’ he said.
Stressing the high cost of green industrialisation, Rezaul said that none of the buyers would give an additional penny against products which were made in a green factory despite that fact that it required huge investments for the transformation.
According to Miran, buyers have role in encouraging green industry so that such factories get priority over others.
Marks and Spencer Bangladesh’s country head Shwapna Bhowmick said that her entity brand sourced the highest number of retail products from Bangladesh.
‘We communicate the message to the head office about the factories which have good compliance, rating report of factories and argue with them over why they should source highest number of retail produces from Bangladesh,’ she said.
At the same time, Shwapna emphasised efforts for the workers’ skill development and automation of the industries.
Mainuddin mentioned that Bangladesh ranked 179 out of 180 countries as per the Environment Performance Index-2018.
A business cannot run without profit, but the profit has to be such that attaining it does not cost the surrounding environment and its basic quality, he said.
‘Though many consider the costs involved with green growth to be too high, with some planning, sustainable growth should neither be unaffordable nor technically out of reach,’ he said.
At the discussion, Economic Dialogue on Green Growth consultant Shahpar Selim presented the keynote paper on ‘Environmental Compliance Opportunities in the Bangladshi Readymade Garments Industry: Lessons from the Green Achievers’.
In the presentation, she said that a company could get back its investments in transforming into green industry within two-three years.