CREATE Project

CREATE (Circular Economy in Bangladesh’s Garments Industry) is a research and capacity-building project funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark (DANIDA). This is the first multi-stakeholder research project on circular economy in the apparel industry led by Aalborg University Business School, Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark, in partnership with Copenhagen Business School, SOAS, University of London, Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester Fashion Institute, Global Fashion Agenda Copenhagen, Access2Innovation, Danish Fashion and Textiles (DM&T), Ethical Trading Initiative UK, Reverse Resources (RR), Institute of Business Administration (DU), Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST). AUST is hosting this project in Bangladesh and is responsible for local coordination in collaboration with AAU. CREATE aims to examine the circularity shift in apparel GVCs by investigating the challenges and opportunities it presents. It, however, aims to explore how Bangladesh’s apparel industry can implement circularity to retain its position in reconfigured apparel GVCs as well as drive green industrialization processes to meet the sustainability goals- 2030. The five-year long research project compromises five work packages that focus on mapping the pre-consumed textile recycling opportunities and challenges, baseline study of resource use and waste, firm-level capabilities and costs, and evaluation of the recycling initiatives/resources and corporate strategies leading to policy formulation and strategy development for suppliers and brands.

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), Reverse Resources (RR), 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.

  • Project Leader: Dr. Mohammad B. Rana, Associate Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Project Period: September 2022-August 2027

Expected Project Outcome

  • 3 PhD double degrees at Dhaka University (DU) and AAUBS/CBS and 2 PhD course modules taught at IBA
  • 3 Article Development Seminars at DU and AUST
  • 2 research seminars to discuss findings with the wider faculty of AUST and DU
  • 1 Joint academic conference between DU and AUST to showcase the findings of CREATE
  • A ‘Centre for Circular Economy (CE) and Sustainable Development’ as a collaboration between DU, AUST, and BGMEA, which will build inter-university linkages to increase research on CE and initiate national innovation systems.

Academic research outputs:

  • 5 working papers published in the Centre for Business and Development Studies series, CBS and the Global Development Institute series and/or Manchester University, to disseminate findings early in the project and build national and international recognition for the project
  • 15 conference papers total, at Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Academy of International Business, Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, European International Business Academy, EGOS.
  • 12 journal articles, published in top peer-reviewed international journals in business and management studies, ecological economics, development studies and political economy.
  • Development of case studies to use in teaching in business school courses.

Outcomes: Producing empirical knowledge on the business case for supplier firms in Bangladesh to invest CE practices at the firm level, on the economic benefits at the industry and national economy levels and on the government policies (i.e. Bangladesh) and industry association (i.e. BGMEA, BKMEA) actions needed to catalyse private firm investments. Advancing our theoretical understanding of how global South countries can use GVC participation to drive inclusive and sustainable industrialization.

Policy impact and global dialogue outputs:

  • Policy Whitepaper on circular economy in Bangladesh’s apparel industry
  • Newspaper articles in Bangla and English to reach general public
  • Reports and briefs with the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) to reach global brands and retailers, discussed in panels at GFA’s annual Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the biggest event on sustainability in the global fashion industry

Outcomes: Policy Impact Group and high-level Project Advisory Committee meetings throughout the project to create political support for government policies to support restructuring of Bangladesh’s apparel industry based on circularity, and to directly support the formulation of government policies through the production of research-based evidence and policy proposals in collaboration with local and international stakeholders as well as brands.