As one of our largest sourcing markets, Bangladesh represents a large chunk of BESTSELLER’s environmental footprint and an area where small improvements can make a big difference. Roughly a third of all our products are made in Bangladesh.
Our key suppliers in Bangladesh are enrolled in the Environment FWD (FWD>ENV) programme, a novel initiative that aims to go further than traditional CSR initiatives by not only working with our suppliers to improve environmental performance at their factories, but to train their staff and create a team of qualified environmental experts with the hard and soft skills to effect real change.
The curriculum, which was designed by our implementing partner Bangladeshi consultancy Engineering Resources International (ERI), provides participants with the latest training on environmental supply chain management as well as leadership skills and incorporates the four pillars of the Fashion FWD strategy: design responsibly, produce leaner, work better and consume better.
The FWD>ENV programme is a two-year programme during which suppliers nominate their staff to participate in the programme. Each participant receives eight capacity building and four knowledge-sharing sessions along with two awareness-raising sessions for relevant supervisors and workers during follow-up visits. The course participants attend seminars where they receive training on technical topics such as steam engineering and process improvements, as well as leadership and communication skills.
This programme also has a focus on developing cases studies. In order to be awarded their certificate, the participants will have to develop action plans to address a specific issue and present the case studies to their peers. The focus here will be on these peers sharing their own experiences and collectively developing solutions and sharing ideas and techniques to overcome hurdles.
The project focus is on improving chemical management, water use, wastewater management, energy use, GHG emissions, waste and environmental management systems. This curriculum is also designed to help suppliers improve their performance in the Higg FEM and will also help to improve the quality of the environmental data that factories collect and then report to their own partners and stakeholders. The ERI team will also be providing quarterly progress reports to the factory owner, the factory’s senior management, and BESTSELLER.
In parallel, our in-country team of environmental experts will be working closely with the factory team during our regular assessments of the factories’ environmental performance and on developing solutions and implementing changes to reduce the factory's environmental impact.
As explained above, factories are expected to maintain detailed chemical inventories, but sharing them with us usually involves laboriously typing information into spreadsheets. This is where the BHive comes in. BESTSELLER was one of four companies to trial The BHive, which was developed by sustainability accelerator GoBlu. We trialed the app at 14 suppliers in five countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey.
How does it work:
- The chemical inventory manager at the unit or factory downloads the BHive app and uses their phone camera to scan a chemical product’s label
- The data from the label is added to their online inventory, which is automatically cross-checked across BHive’s database and BESTSELLER’s restricted chemicals list, providing both the factory and BESTSELLER with detailed product information in real-time
The BHive helps us monitor chemical usage in our suppliers’ factories, enabling us to quickly flag problematic chemicals, and work with the suppliers to source safer alternatives.