INTERVIEW - Mr Mostafiz Uddin, owner of the sustainable Denim Expert Ltd manufacture in Bangladesh answered our questions about his opinion on Transparency subject.
Bangladesh has faced several criticism of Worker conditions since 2013 after Rana Plaza collapse. Does Transparency the solution to reassure Brands and help manufacturers to gain trust?
" The biggest way to convince manufactures to accept Transparency is to make sourcing practices more Transparent and mutually responsive" Said Mr Mostafiz Uddin.
After several serious accidents in the textile manufacturing industry and great international criticism of working conditions in Bangladesh, the world’s second largest textile producer, has made a commendable stride toward sustainability.
The initiator of the changes is Mostafiz Uddin, who has made it his life’s work to lead the textile industry of his country into a sustainable future and with his own company Denim Expert Ltd. preceded by a role model. He is the organizer of the Bangladesh Denim Expo, the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange and other forums and symposia dedicated to promoting sustainability in the country.
We therefore decided to ask him what does he think about Transparency, more and more asked by Brands and consumers. Here the following overview of our exchange:
FAIR MAKERS: What do you think about Transparency?
Mostafiz Uddin: I think transparency is the future, because transparency has the power to establish trust among people in the supply chain and ecosystem which is essential for the existence of all of us on this planet. I think the major turning point for the mankind in twenty first century is sustainability. In our trail to be civilised we actually have destroyed the nature so much as not only to repent but also to give an effort to save it. Transparency in the fashion industry will play a crucial role to clear the opacity in buying and manufacturing practices, and ensure a fair share of value chain. It will bring respect and trust among supply chain partners starting from workers to consumers.
FAIR MAKERS: What is the main advantages observed of practicing Transparency?
Mostafiz Uddin: By practicing transparency factories will be able to earn more loyalty of the customers, workers and the society it operates in, thus will create immense value to the business. Workers in a factory will be more empowered, and they will also be able to contribute to the greater interest of the factory and growth if they also have access to information. Buyers are often charged by consumers for their buying practices and responsible sourcing. So transparent buying practices will earn them more customer loyalty and also will give a greater visibility into the supply chain. Transparency can make sure supply chains get free of exploitations and bring a healthy balance in the supply chain power dynamics.
FAIR MAKERS: How do you apply Transparency in your manufacture ?
Mostafiz Uddin: The factory inspection report on workplace safety regarding structural, fire and electrical issues are available in publicly available website, workers have hotline in their visibility so they can share any concern or complaints through that line, we are open to any third party auditors who come and inspect our factories. Beside I am welcoming for any initiative to ensure transparency and traceability in the production process.
FAIR MAKERS: Have you been afraid to be “Transparent” before practicing? Why?
Mostafiz Uddin: Well, being afraid or not is relative to the principles you follow. In the commercial world ethics is always challenged, but if the supply chain partners follow the same principles and basic standards of doing business, then obviously there will be no fear or anxiety to lose business, trust or loyalty. In my business, I practice certain norms which are deliberate and not imposed. I interact with all my workers individually, anybody in my factory can contact me anytime.
FAIR MAKERS: What does Transparency brought to your business ?
Mostafiz Uddin: Well it’s not clear about the format of transparency practices you are referring to, but yes out of my own humble initiatives and belief on transparency I think it earns dignity, self respect, strengthen the social bond and loyalty to business. Transparency is honesty, and honesty is the best practices. So being honest is always pleasant and that’s the most important return, and I think honest ones stay till the end of the race.
Hors avant de pouvoir comparer et évaluer les écarts d’un audit sur un même site, il est nécessaire de pouvoir mettre en place un système de suivi performant pouvant permettre d’établir un suivi régulier des performances sur des sites industriels.
FAIR MAKERS: How Brands can help and reassure manufacturers to practice Transparency ?
Mostafiz Uddin: Brands can assure transparency down the supply chain by practicing transparent practices within their business activities and operations, make the sourcing practices more visible and share the cost burden of transparency. At the same time any initiative taken by brands have to be collective and collaborative.
FAIR MAKERS: As a manufacturer, what do you expect from Brands for a balanced relationship ?
Mostafiz Uddin: There has to be a decent equilibrium point in the power dynamics between brands and suppliers. Undue dominance and exercise of power need to end. We expect brands will not create a situation which does not exploit any stakeholders in the supply chain.
FAIR MAKERS: Does Transparency means more investment for manufacturers to be more compliant ?
Mostafiz Uddin: Transparency requires almost nothing from manufacturers to invest even if there are certain costs to consider. However there should be a level playing field among supply chain partners and competitors, otherwise there will be pilferage of trade.
FAIR MAKERS: How could you convince as manufacturer others manufacturers to apply Transparency ?
Mostafiz Uddin: The biggest way to convince manufactures is to make sourcing practices more transparent and mutually responsive. Assurance from buyers is absolutely important in terms of offsetting additional cost burdens, ensure level playing field and incentivise the suppliers. We need to share among the manufacturers regarding our good practices on transparency and help raise confidence among them.
FAIR MAKERS: How would you see a transparent sourcing practices made by Brands ? Could you give a current issues often encountered through concrete examples?
Mostafiz Uddin: Answering your questions, there are many issues that create challenges for the factories caused by buying practices of buyers. Poor business forecasting, pricing, pre shipment, delayed shipment, partial shipment, cost of sampling and approval process, etc. All of them are more or less the major ongoing issues. It may vary from buyer to buyer, country to country and manufacturer to manufacturer.
Interviewed by Sanâa Khadir
About FAIR MAKERS:
FAIR MAKERS allows companies to conduct regular automated audits with their suppliers’ managers and employees through text/ voice surveys, suitable for all level of education and literacy and track regular objective datas on what Really happening with suppliers on remote and in Real Time to bring Transparency within Supply chain.