The Bangladesh RMG sector, which has seen enormous growth over the past 30 years, is one of the largest exporters of RMG in the world; higher than its southern neighbors and competitors. Presently, there are around 5150 garment factories located around Dhaka and Chittagong cities and its suburban areas with a workforce of 4.0 million among which 80% of them are women. It contributes to 80% of the export earnings of Bangladesh, and represents more than 5% of national GDP. Bangladesh is second only to China, the world’s second-largest apparel exporter of western brands. Sixty percent of the export contracts of western brands are with European buyers and about forty percent with American buyers. Only 5% of textile factories are owned by foreign investors, with most of the production being controlled by local investors. Due to rapid changing dynamics of world trade because of globalization and trade liberalization under the WTO regime; countries that had so long been protected by the Multi-Fiber Arrangement (MFA), are now facing the challenges of free market competition with the final phased out of MFA had in December 2004. With the quota system come to an end, the importing countries are no longer pledged with fixed orders and demands. While the WTO regime has removed the tariff barriers; immense importance has been shifted and attached to the non-tariff barriers. These non-tariff barriers include maintaining quality standards and ensuring commitment towards social compliance. Today consumers of developed economy (e.g. North America, Europe) no longer fixated only with the price and quality of the products; but also are very much concerned about the methods and systems by which these products are made. In the post-MFA era, global sourcing has become an integral part of international trade. To comply with globalization and international free trades, the requirements of maintaining social and ethical standards in sourcing and purchasing of goods are firm and unbending. These setbacks demanded RMG sector to react and properly reformat the industry to make it more compliant and standardized; but, unfortunately the garment owners as well as the policy makers failed to meet up the progressive demands. As a result, the overall compliance conditions of the garment industries get worsen. Incidents such as collapse of RANA plaza (2013), fire accident in Tazreen fashion and Smart garments (2012), subside of Spectrum factory (2005) etc. took hundreds of garment workers lives and cost the industry millions. Even, shifting of garments factories from Dhaka to suburban area didnt make things better. Outside the jurisdiction of Dhaka City Corporations, these factories are monitored and regulated by local incompetent area officials who lack the skills as well as proper training and no authority under the local union council.
In this hostile situation NUK comes in the picture with ideal compliance solutions. NUK, oaths to protect the RMG sector of by ensuring workers rights and their livelihood security, has initiated a series of activities (such as research on social compliance status in RMG sector in Bangladesh followed by international seminar on Solidarity Forum for Garment Workers of LDC, producing documentary films on Empowerment Under Threat: Women Workers in the Bangladesh Garment Industries, conducting media advocacy, etc.) to create awareness among the relevant stakeholders includes government, policy makers, manufacturers and international buyers about the present condition of compliance in the garments factories of Bangladesh. The Government of Bangladesh is also under mmense
pressure from international buyers to ensure compliance in the factories to get trade orders from international market. Thus, the only way the RMG sector can survive in this demanding situation is by becoming acquiescent and compliant with international standards and requirements; and it is SCIB which pledges to sustain these international standards and requirements in the RMG sector of Bangladesh. Social Compliance Initiative Bangladesh (SCIB) has been thus emerged from NUK’s decades of experience,
knowledge and skill as an independent service provider in the area of social, labor, ethical and environmental standards, working within the RMG sector in Bangladesh since 2004. SCIB’s main objectives are to assess, upgrade and improve work place conditions. It activities focus on the areas of labor & workplace standards; strengthening management and workers relationship; increase productivity towards promoting responsible businesses practices and foremost maintain a sustainable workplace. SCIB assist to implement the Corporate Codes of Conduct (CCC) which outlines the basic rights and minimum standards a corporation pledges to respect in its relation with workers, communities and the environment. Thus the challenges ahead for the RMG factories is to strictly adherence to the local laws, ILO convention and the best practices to meet the challenges of globalization and competition, complying with the code of conduct is Compliance .Buyers emphasizes on to be maintained by their suppliers company. Social Compliance Initiative-Bangladesh (SCIB) has initiated social compliance audit in the context of compliance status in Bangladesh. This auditing process is a continuous activity where SCIB works
extensively with organizations management to improve the working conditions and factory facilities gradually, that way it can comply with the international standards. As a continued effort to improve social compliance, SCIB mediates as an advocate (on behalf of the organization) with different stakeholders, manufacturers, associations and international buyers. The objective of SCIB is to create awareness among the factory owners about compliance and its ever growing importance. SCIB identifies areas that need to be dealt, implements the solutions and ultimately assists factories to attain required level of compliance. Once the level is achieved, factory owners can apply for internationally
recognized certifications such as ITS, BVQI, WRAP and or SA 8000. SCIB facilitates the factories to become internationally recognized and compliant, that way it can satisfy the requirements of renowned buyers and make their factories self-sustaining and efficient.
To establish and maintain an ideal work environment for the collective betterment of the garments industries.
Mission of SCIB
Securing the rights of the workers and eliminate gender discrimination within the industry by implementing and advocating the proper practice of law of land and state level policies.
- To create awareness among the factory owners about compliance issues and its importance Capacity building of factory management and workers
- To conduct third party audit for worldwide renowned buyers
- To identify areas that require to be improved in respective factories
- To work on a corrective action plan for the improvement of compliance
- To facilitate garments factories to attain the required level of compliance, that way they can satisfy and attract renowned buyers
- To make the factories self-sustaining and recognized in the global market.