How to manage chemicals – gsm supports Bangladeshi textile producers

The German company gsm Global Sustainable Management GmbH has successfully guided and supported ten Bangladeshi textile producing companies in implementing preventive chemical management systems. The pilot project is supported by the German DEG (Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH) within the framework of a Public Private Partnership and performed with the cooperation of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS). Participants are mainly manufacturers performing washing, dyeing, printing and finishing processes which normally need a lot of different chemicals. After two years of intensive joint work, advice and training, the project is nearing its end this autumn. Time for gsm to take stock what has been achieved and where further progress is needed.

gsm stands for preventive approaches: All used chemicals and their origins have to be screened, documented and evaluated. That way, critical points become evident at an early stage and there is time to find solutions to reduce, avoid or substitute hazardous substances. Furthermore, a well-arranged storage, the proper handling of the chemicals in the production area and corresponding health and safety measures are important to keep products clean and to guarantee workers safety.

Central aspect of the preventive approach lies in the procurement of substances or mixtures. In the chosen Bangladeshi factories, measures are implemented to request reliable documents from chemical producers before the chemicals are used in production. Responsible persons have learned what documents need to be available, how to extract essential information from Safety Data Sheets or supplier declarations and how to evaluate and judge this information. The companies have recognized that this is the best way to ensure that their products are in compliance with legal regulations and the different specific customers’ demands.

But sometimes the problem starts at a earlier phase: In Bangladeshi practice – and that is similar to other production countries – manufacturers do not only procure directly from renowned producers of textile chemicals who deliver the industry-specific data automatically, but instead choose small suppliers or agencies from local market – either because of financial reasons or lacks of time. It has become evident that data is not requested, is incomplete or not available at all. That way, the risk is extended that products’ safety cannot be assured. At this point, a stringent procurement strategy has to be internalized. On the other hand, chemical industry has to change some of its practices, too. So, every producer, supplier or agency delivering substances or mixtures for textile industry should provide the relevant data and documents automatically to save time and resources.

To share project experiences and to present results with to a wider audience, BCAS and gsm initiate a final seminar in early autumn in Bangladesh. Textile manufactures, suppliers and stakeholders learn more about a working chemical management system in different stages of textile production. They get to know best practice examples as well as obstructions in implementing such a system. An open discussion about the effects of the project for Bangladeshi Textile Industry follows. If you are interested to be informed or invited or if you would like to invite your suppliers to the seminar, please contact

gsm Global Sustainable Management GmbH
Florian Tiedtke
Friesenplatz 15
50672 Köln
Tel.: +49 221 502949-0
f.tiedtke@gsm-consulting.net

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