PhD defended at:
The textile industries have become the backbone of the country’s economy but it also possesses threats recently. There were several fire accidents in textile sector, which caused death of hundreds of workers and fires have become common incidents. The recent textile building collapse in Savar turned into a hot issue in Bangladesh as well as in the rest of the world due to its thousands of labour deaths. The question of safety and sustainability of the textile industries in Bangladesh arise for these incidents. Most of the factory owners do not follow the minimum safety regulations of the garments. Many regular foreign buyers of the readymade garment products have already declared not to have any deal with the country if they do not maintain its safety and proper environment. Moreover, most of the buyer companies demand more environment friendly products. To meet minimum environmental and social requirements with quantity, quality and price-cost requirements, large enterprises on the higher end of the value chain are increasingly putting pressure on small and medium enterprises.
Environmental management is the management of an organization’s responsibility on its impacts on the environment. In another word, EMS is a set of processes and practices that enable the organization to reduce its environmental impacts and increase its operating efficiency in a systematic and cost-effective manner.
Considering environmental and social issues, to improve the Bangladesh textile industry in accordance with the global standards in which corporate social responsibility and environment have critical contribution and to accelerate the relevant strategies being developed, a situation analysis should be the first step to be taken.
Lack of knowledge about environmental awareness and workplace safety has brought about the necessity of an assessment study on textile industry awareness and performance on environmental issues. Objective of this study is to identify present environmental management system in Bangladesh textile industries. The study can lead towards a new era of textile industries of Bangladesh. It will reduce to have further hazard in this sector. Besides the proposed sustainable way the study will demonstrate the country better practices and pathways for the textile industry and will help to rebuild the textile policy and regulation. Hypothesis of this study is, “Textile industry’s strategic choice or approaches are desired to be environmental friendly”.
Two data gathering approaches were followed in this study. One of them is literature review and another one is questioner survey supported by semi-structured interviews. This research found that general environmental policies and management approaches are not established in most of the companies in the target region. Surveys were responded by 26 companies in the target region. Based on the questions which constitute the questionnaire, environmental situations of the companies were assessed under six areas, General environmental policies and management practices, Perspective on the environmental legislations, General waste management practices, Selection of production processes, systems and technologies considering environmental pollution and Occupational health, safety and environmental performance. From study it was found that, poor monitoring and enforcement of existing laws lead the factory owners to avoid proper environmental management system. Beside pollution issue, many factory owners also do not follow the minimum safety regulations of the textile industries, because there is no proper policy or concrete labour and trade union policy in this sector, most of the factory owners take it as advantages and want to have more profits without investing sufficiently for workplace safety of workers.
Textiles companies are confronted with a number of significant environmental and social challenges. None of the challenges are unfeasible, but if not effectively addressed and managed, they will hurt not only environment, but also business operations and profitability. An environmental management system simply extends that approach to managing the impact of business has on the environment and the working conditions at facility. It is important that, government, private organizations and the factory owners will take responsible initiatives and to work for the better working environment in order to enrich a satisfactory position in terms of sustainability.
As shown in the results obtained by the analyses using the survey data and environmental measures by facilities was clarified in this study, and various factors were examined to see constraint and remediation of environmental management system of textile industry in Bangladesh. However, due to the simultaneous effects of the various factors, it is not adequate to focus on importance for the adoption of environmental management system and environmental activities.
Furthermore, the research findings and recommendation would be of a great use to the policy makers, urban authorities, planners, researchers and students as well as to the environmentalists taking action in future research and development and also in all decision making on matters pertaining to environmental management system. Thus it could help to create a sustainable environment.