A new initiative to improve transparency in the Bangladeshi garment manufacturing industry by mapping every factory in the country has been launched. The project, ‘Digital RMG Factory Mapping in Bangladesh’ (DRFM-B), will collect data on factories and disclose it in a publicly available online map.
The map will show each factory’s location, number of employees, product types, certifications, trade union affiliations and export countries. It comes after Bangladesh, which is still in the shadow of the Rana Plaza disaster hit headlines again this year after authorities took a hardline approach to workers and trade union officials who were protesting against low pay and poor working conditions in garment factories.
The DRFM-B project will be undertaken by Bangladesh-based BRAC University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, in partnership with trade union Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). It will be funded by the C&A Foundation.
Field workers from BRAC University will visit every factory in Bangladesh over the next year to plot and map them and collect data. Verification will be crowd sourced from public to ensure the information remains current and accurate. The map will go live in mid-2018, initially showing factories in Dhaka. The final version, showing all 20 Bangladeshi garment-producing districts, is expected to be completed by mid-2021.
The project will send a strong signal to all stakeholders that transformative change is happening within the ready-made garment sector, says Parveen Huda, project manager for DRFM-B.