Circular Economy (CREATE) in Apparel Industry Kicked-Off in the Air

The official opening ceremony of the “Circular Economy in Bangladesh’s Apparel Industry (CREATE)” project was held on the 6th October 2022 from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm Bangladesh time (9.00 am to 12.30 pm Danish Time). The kick-off program was held at Aalborg University Business School (AAUBS), Denmark, and simultaneously organized at the campus at Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST), Dhaka. Both programmes at Aalborg University (AAU) and AUST were connected through ZOOM to which researchers from British Universities such as SOAS University of London, Manchester Metropolitan University joined.  As the local primary partner of CREATE, AUST’s physical event was held at AUST Distance Learning Theatre to make sure that all local partners such as Dhaka University, IBA, and BGMEA can join the partners and lead University (AAU) via zoom. Being the largest research-based policy-development project on the circular economy in the apparel industry of Bangladesh, the main objective of this project is to investigate the circular economy transition in global apparel value chains linked with Bangladesh’s apparel industry and develop effective policies. While linear economy is focusing on the production, consumption and wastage, circular economy aims to ensure the utilization of natural resources and reduce environmental impact. European Union’s policy dictates European brands to transform their value chains into green by 2030; and to this vein, sourcing countries, like Bangladesh, need to develop compatible policies and institutions to support the green transitions. CREATE project aims to make a fundamental contribution to this green transition in apparel industry.

‘CREATE receives 12 million Danish Kroner grant (equivalent to 17 Crore BDT) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (DANIDA) which Associate Professor Mohammad B. Rana from Aalborg University Business School, Denmark, leads that collaborates with Copenhagen Business School, Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (as local coordinator), Dhaka University, Institute of Business Administration (DU), Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Danish Fashion and Textile (DM&T), Global Fashion Agenda Copenhagen, Access2Innovation Denmark, SOAS University of London, Manchester Fashion Institute and  Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, and Ethical Trading Initiative, UK.

After the official opening by the Head of AAU Business School, Professor Christian Nielsen from AAU, an introduction to CREATE project was presented by project leader Dr. Mohammad B. Rana, Associate Professor, AAU Business School, DK.

Mr. Morten Thiessen, Vice Mayor, Aalborg, Denmark, delivered his valuable speech on how collaboration creates value in solving worldwide challenges. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Fazli Ilahi, Vice Chancellor, Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology presented the impact of the circular economy on Bangladesh’s perspective and its effect on global apparel production. Other aspects of this project were also delivered in the ceremony, such as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Framework by Professor Rasmus Antoft, the Dean at Humanities and Social Sciences (SSH) Faculty, Aalborg University; Prospect of Circular Economy Transition in Apparel Industry by Prof. Mohammad A. Momen, Director of Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh; Reflection on Sustainability Challenges for Danish Fashion Industry by Thomas Klausen, CEO of Danish Fashion and Textile (DM&T), DK; Reflection on the impact of the green transition of the global apparel value chain highlighting the participation of RMG Industry in the circular economy by Mr. Faruque Hasan, the President of BGMEA, Bangladesh;; reflection from H.E. Allama Siddiki, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Denmark; Reflection on Circular Economy from the perspective of International Business by Professor Svetla Marinova, Head of International Business Research Group, AAU Business School; Reflection on the Future of Circular Economy in Bangladesh as a sourcing country by Prof. Dr. Mohammad Amanullah, Local Project Coordinator. A brief introduction to the partner institutions and researchers of the CREATE was presented by the participants from the UK, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Denmark.

The researchers from the CREATE project also spoke on different dimensions of circular economy transitions; among them Professor Mushtaq Khan from SOAS University of London, Professor Matthew Allen and Dr. Abu Sadat from Manchester Metropolitan University, Professor Mette Vinther Larsen  and Asso. Professor Jonas Eduardsen from AAUBS, Professor Olav Jull Sørensen from Access2Innovation, Dr. Shobod Deba Nath and Dr. Melita Mehjabeen from Dhaka University, Professor Imranul Hoque, Professor S.M. Shafiul Alam, Dr. Naznin Sultana Chaity and Dr. Abdur Rahman from AUST, and Mr. Monower Hossain together with Ms Vidiya Khan from BGMEA attended and spoke in the programme.

A keynote speech on Multinational Enterprises and the Circular Economy was presented by Professor Gabriel R. G. Benito, BI Norwegian Business School, Norway.

The program was closed with concluding remarks by the project Leader Dr. Mohammad Rana, AAU Business School, Denmark.