‘Responsible’ biz behavaiour wins DBL Group plaudits from global community, The Financial Express, 17 November 2014

Date: 17 November 2014


Chairman of DBL Group Abdul Wahed, chief executive officer of CSR Centre Shahamin S. Zaman and president of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute Farooq Sobhan seen at the launch of the DBL Group’s Sustainability Report at a city hotel.

DBL Group, one of the largest knitted textile producers in the country, has vowed to eke out “responsible” profit by making its operations sustainable-socially, ethically and environmentally.

Mohammed Abdul Jabbar, managing director of the textile-telecom-ceramic group, made the pledge on Sunday as he spoke at the launch of his company’s “Sustainability Report” at a city hotel.

He said “We want to make our operations sustainable and contribute to sustainable development,” as  many other companies did around the world.

Highlighting the significance of reporting, he said sustainability reporting will help a company measure, understand and communicate its economic, environmental, social and governance performance.

The group prepared the report in line with the latest international standards set by the United Nations.

His pledge came as the $24 billion apparel industry is battling to meet global safety standards in the wake of recent industrial disasters, such as Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen fire.

“Through the report we have made an attempt to present our organisation’s values and governance model and demonstrate the link between our strategy and commitment to a sustainable global economy,” he said.

Although DBL is a family-run enterprise, the report says the group has a plan to go for eventual public listing of the company concerns and establish a sound corporate governance in order to tap external capital, lower borrowing costs, improve credit ratings and boost investors’ confidence. Currently, Matin Spinning Ltd, one of 19 units of the group, is listed on the stock exchanges.

Mr Jabbar said sustainability reporting is a vital resource for managing change towards a sustainable global economy-one that combines long term profitability with ethical behaviour, social justice and environmental care.

Established in 1991, the diversified group raked in more than Tk 19 billion sales in 2013 financial year and employs nearly 16,000 people. It churns out 6.5 million pieces of clothing per month and supplies products to top western high street brands, such as H&M, Walmart, and Puma.

Speaking at the function, Magus Schimd, programme coordinator of German Development Cooperation GIZ, said Germany is leading an international effort to form a Textile Alliance, with people involved in every stage of the industry-from cotton to clothing.

He said his agency has financed a series of programmes in Bangladesh, notably improvement of workers’ skills and energy efficiency in firms, after the factory collapse.

President of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute Farooq Sobhan called DBL ‘standard-bearer’ and said: “It’s an important milestone in our common quest for becoming a middle-income country by 2021.”

He said corporate governance and social responsibility in the apparel industry will help “your bottom line and pull up the industry as a whole and enhance image of Bangladesh.”

Chief executive officer of CSR Centre Shahamin S. Zaman thanked DBL for preparing the report, saying it highlights not only “responsible” business behaviour, also “responsible” profits.

Calling upon private enterprises not to look at social responsibility as a legal compliance alone and expressed the hope that other companies would follow in the footsteps of DBL that prepared the report by using the latest G4-first in Bangladesh.

‘It’s (CSR) win-win for you,’ she said.

Chairman of DBL Group Abdul Wahed, Mrinal Sircar of International Finance Corporation and officials of international retailers and development institutions were also present at the launching programme.