Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), BRAC University has initiated a 4-year project titled “Digital RMG Factory Mapping in Bangladesh” (DRFM-B) from April 2017.
DRFM-B is aimed at mapping of the ready-made garment (RMG) factories in Bangladesh. According to the nation’s “Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021”, the Bangladeshi RMG sector also needs to align itself to the mandated digitization of every sector.
The goal of DRFM-B is to provide industry stakeholders with real-time, credible RMG factory data through an interactive online platform (like Google Maps). The project will also work to enable greater accountability, transparency in supply chains, and enhancing confidence in the ability of the sector to contribute to equitable development in Bangladesh.
The project will be implemented by BRAC University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED), and coordinated by BRAC USA, and with C&A Foundation as the lead funder with potential additional co-funding. The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is the strategic partner of this project.
The DRFM-B project builds on the initial pilot conducted in 2015 which mapped two clusters (Mirpur and Kaliakair). With the pilot data, BRAC University developed a prototype map (similar to the Google Map) on a global platform consisting of various factory information. Three (3) workshop with different sector stakeholders were also organized to showcase the map and to obtain feedback from the key stakeholders.
With the success of the pilot project, DRFM-B would like to broaden the project beyond the pilot phase. At present, DRFM-B will cover the entire garment industry, i.e. to find out the actual number of factories as well as workers involved in this sector.
DRFM-B would cover various factory information like factory name/address/GPS location, operational status of factories (active/inactive/shut down, etc.), registration status (member of BGMEA/BKMEA/EPB), type of production, factory building structure, number of workers, zone/countries where products are exported, major buyers/brands working with a particular factory, distance of the nearest hospitals and fire service stations, information on Workers Participatory Committee (WPC) and Safety Committee, affiliation with and information on having trade unions, and certifications [National Action Plan (NAP), Accord, Alliance, ISO, OEKO-TEX, LEED, WRAP, SEDEX, etc.]
The factory data and the developed map are expected to create credibility and accountability in the sector with a shared value and responsibility approach for all sector stakeholders. This will help clear out the debates and misconceptions about the sector.
BRAC University hopes that through this project, the world will be more aware of the genuine progresses made by the Bangladeshi apparel producers in bringing more transparency to this vital export earning sector, and respectability in the global community. Thus, with the enhanced credibility of the sector, we will be able to lead the sector towards the BGMEA’s envisioned $50 billion industry and the government’s mandated “Digital Bangladesh”.