PDS Limited was the ‘In Association with Partner’ in the recently held Best of Bangladesh in Amsterdam. What was the objective of PDS behind this partnership?
PDS has been proudly associated with Bangladesh for over 20 years. We have been sourcing and manufacturing in Bangladesh due to the multitude of benefits it offers and have plans to double our sourcing volume from the country by 2026.
When Mostafiz Uddin, Founder & CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange approached us with the opportunity to participate in an event promoting the strengths and innovations of Bangladesh in Europe, we felt it was a great chance for us to participate and contribute to this occasion.
Through the medium of the Best of Bangladesh conference we wanted to interact with the key stakeholders of the industry in Bangladesh and Europe and showcase our commitment to furthering the growth of Bangladesh’s Ready Made Garment Industry.
What is your feedback on the Best of Bangladesh? What were the achievements in the maiden edition of the event?
I was very impressed by the event, a hearty congratulations to Mostafiz and his entire team for successfully conducting this first edition. Bringing so many key stakeholders, government and trade officials, customers, suppliers, and sustainability / circularity organizations under one roof is an impressive feat. The focused curation of the agenda, interesting speakers and combining serious dialogue on the future of the industry with networking and cultural activities was great. The Gashouder Westergas arena in Amsterdam, the heart of Europe, was the perfect location to conduct this event. The key highlights for me were the quality of discussions held in the Panel sessions and to top it all off there were wonderfully organized cultural events, a fashion show and art fair.
What are the sustainability goals of PDS Limited? How it aligned with the objectives of Best of Bangladesh Europe.
The PDS Group is guided by our core values of trust and transparency, keeping in mind the four sustainability pillars which are – 1) Respect Water, 2) Reduce Emissions, 3) Build Community, and 4) Think Circular.
Beyond our manufacturing, design-led sourcing, sourcing as a service, and brands businesses, we have embarked on an exciting journey towards a more sustainable and circular future in the fashion and retail industry. Through our innovation and investment arm PDS Ventures we are taking bold strides in supporting innovators, technologists, and futurists from leading universities across the globe such as Oxford and Stanford as these innovators develop viable and cutting-edge technologies across sustainability and circularity. We are confident that this will redefine how we approach textile and garment manufacturing- looking for sustainable solutions across the value chain.
The Best of Bangladesh Forum was a great avenue not only to share our 4 sustainability pillars as well as showcase some case studies of our circularity and sustainability initiatives such as Positive Materials, which is a low-impact textiles company based out of Portugal.
The Bangladesh Apparel Exchange Team brought sustainability and circularity to the forefront of discussion which is critical today.
What are biggest challenges of global fashion industry now, you think? How PDS is working to address those challenges?
The Global Fashion industry is dealing with multiple headwinds on both the demand side (rising cost of living, high interest rates, changing consumer tastes and the rise of ultra-fast fashion), as well as the supply side (geopolitical shifts, overstock inventory, unfilled factory capacity and industry consolidation).
We at PDS believe in directly addressing these challenges and working closely with brands, retailers, and our vendor partners to collaboratively find solutions. Our approach of trust and transparency, guided by leveraging the PDS platform has successfully enabled us to face these challenges.
What are the strengths of Bangladesh apparel industry you think? How could the industry best use of the strengths?
Bangladesh has firmly established itself as a leader in the Ready Made Garments industry. Key advantages of sourcing apparel from Bangladesh are:
Transparency: This is one of the most important factors. Compliance: Bangladesh has emerged as one of the most compliant sourcing destinations. Sustainability: Bangladesh has the highest number of green factories. Governance: The government and business community are open to new ideas and implement them with speed and agility. People: Availability of skilled manpower and labor pool who are willing to work and uplift their lives. Ease of doing business: Free trade zones have been successful and enabled foreign companies to invest in Bangladesh with ease and lack of bureaucracy.
The RMG industry in Bangladesh is playing a leading role in driving change worldwide by setting an example of good governance, zero tolerance on compliance, embracing change and new technologies and moving the industry forward into a new era of sustainability and circularity. Forums like the “Best of Bangladesh” will go a long way to bring these positive developments to the forefront.
How buyers could be a partner with manufacturers in accelerating the momentum of sustainability?
Partnership and collaboration will be key in achieving the sustainability targets set by companies and governments. Manufacturers can work closely with their buyers to translate sustainable projects from ideas into bulk production.
What’s your vision regarding the next edition of ‘Best of Bangladesh’?
The event has been a great success, and I would suggest that the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange team continues the momentum from this event into 2024. It would be great to continue some of the discussions and dialogues that were sparked during this Edition throughout the year and enter next year’s edition with renewed vigor. We at PDS Group look forward to participating in the Forum next year.
Anything else you would like to add?
I would once again like to congratulate Mostafiz and the entire Bangladesh Apparel Exchange team. It is an honor and privilege to be part of this event. It is through the sheer energy and passion of Mostafiz Uddin that this event has achieved resounding success. I wish everyone continued success in their endeavors.