Desh Garments Ltd was set up in December of 1977 as a joint venture with Daewoo, South Korea. It was the first export oriented, readymade garment business. While credited to be the first importer and introducer of garments tech in Bangladesh, at the time of its inception, Desh was the largest and most up to date garment-manufacturing unit in the sub-continent.
By 1978, having been active for a year, Desh Garments handpicked a hundred and thirty workers and management trainees to be sent to attain training from Daewoo’s factories in South Korea. These hundred and thirty individuals later formed the heart of the readymade garments sector technology and human resource base. Despite severe national foreign exchange constraints and bureaucratic obstacles Desh became an international success against all odds.
Desh Garments Ltd twice received the President’s National Award. Furthermore in 1988, the company received Grand Prix for Commercial Quality in Europe for highest export earnings for two consecutive years with annual exports consisting of five million pieces. Desh was also the country’s highest North American quota holder for several years. Desh earned an impeccable reputation in the industry because of their consensus based management approach and an early adaptation of decentralised corporate management structure. Noorul Quader, the founder of Desh Garments, is accredited with being a pioneer in the field, introduced the Bonded Warehouse system and the Back-to-back Letter of Credit system. The Back-to-back Letter of Credit system eliminated the need for monetary working capital as well as the need for foreign exchange in the RMG industry of Bangladesh. This enabled entrepreneurs to set up factories with low capital investments allowing a rapid growth of the industry.
After attending an informative seminar on the mission of Fashion Revolution, the fashion design students of BGMEA University of Fashion and Techonology divided into groups and were assigned case study companies to research.
The students read everything they could on the companies and compiled a questionnaire to gain firsthand insight into the company’s general policies as well as its sustainability initiatives and/or advanced labor practices.
Below are the questionnaires and responses from the case studies:
1) (i) What are the challenges you wanted to take in particular for the production growth in sustainable forms?
It is the most important thing to maintain the lead time from the confirmation of respective order. Within the schedule to obtain the respective approvals, raw materials in house on time, PP approval , conduct of PP meeting on time and obtain of bulk cutting permission. On the other hand is very essential to maintain the lean management, to minimize the lead time in between starting of new style and closing of old styles. Strong team work and effective communication within the different section/department.
(ii) What are the challenging areas of Desh Garments?
To source value added customers, procurement of raw materials from own source and to maintain the lead time from confirmation of any new order.
(iii) How does Desh Garments manage their compliant environment?
Desh has a strong team of HR and Compliance staff who audit the factory as per the rules and regulations of all compliance standards. Desh always follows and maintains buyers’ compliance requirements and updates the factory accordingly. Desh has some world standard certificate WRAP, BSCI, KOHL’S etc and other buyer specific compliance requirements and standards. We have also been audited by Alliance and currently undergoing their corrective recommendations.
2) What efforts are you making for better worker well being?
We are providing a hygienic environment to workers. We pay them on time, as per the roles and regulation of Bangladesh Government Labour Law and wage policies. We give financial benefit like maternity benefits, earn leave etc. We provide them health assistance during working hour in factory. We have a child care center in factory for infants. Currently, Desh is running the HER Project in the factory.
3) (i)In terms of resource efficiency, have you been able to cut back on material or water?
(ii) Do you recycle your resources?
(vi) Tell us about your waste management program. When did you first implement it and what made you decide it?
We are a 100% garment manufacturing and exporting facility. We do not have a waste management program, as it is not required currently. However, natural recycling takes place and we have a rain water reservoir from which we use water in the toilets when necessary. Filtered water is otherwise used in the factory for workers purposes.
4) Are you thinking about any plan on adaptation of ETP ( EFFLUENT TREATMENT PLANT ) IF yes then how would you conserve energy ? What are some of the ways?
We think ETP is necessary for composite project like washing, dying etc and is not applicable to us.
5) (i)Does Desh garments engage in any kind of social responsibility in terms of the communities you employ?
No, not as yet but we have plans to do so once we go into further expansion of our facilities later this year.
6)When did you begin working on sustainability? Do you have long term plan or have you achieved your goals?
We did not start any project for sustainability, however have plans to do so later this year upon expansion of our facilities.
7)How does Desh Garments ensureworker safety?
Being a complaint factory, Desh has taken all recommended steps by auditors and buyers to make the work place safe, for example by using metal gloves, eye guards, masks, etc. We have a fully installed fire fighting system and also training sessions for the workers for all emergency incidents that could occur. We further have in house seminars and awareness programs to use of PPE and avoid to keep themselves away from any kind of hazard.
8)Do they provide maternity leave for their women workers or childcare facilities?
We are providing maternity leave, benefit and child care facilities.
09)Is first aid available? Do you have a doctor available in case of emergency?
Yes, first aid facilities are easily available on the floor along with a medical centre where by there is a fully licensed doctor available during factory working hours.
10)Are workers offered a nutritious lunch?
We do not provide lunch but we do pay the mandatory amount required through the monthly pay scale.
11)Do your workers get transportation to and from work?