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DCCI President Advocates for ESG Compliance to Enhance Trade and Investment in Bangladesh

Ashraf Ahmed, president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), emphasized on Saturday the critical importance of adopting environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) compliance reporting standards to enhance trade and investment. He asserted that an ESG compliance framework would not only align business values and strategies with sustainability goals and drive economic growth but also ensure competitiveness beyond the graduation from least developed country (LDC) status.

“Investors look at ESG factors as indicators of a business’s resilience and long-term financial health,” Ahmed stated. He noted the increasing trend of ESG reporting in Bangladesh, with various organizations across different sectors starting to disclose their ESG performance. Government bodies have also launched initiatives to promote and support ESG reporting.

Ahmed recommended developing effective ESG compliance strategies that align with the global value chain and integrating ESG considerations into decision-making processes and organizational culture. He underscored the need to educate stakeholders, including employees, management, investors, regulators, and the public, about the importance of ESG compliance and reporting. Additionally, he called for embedding ESG compliance within other policies, such as industrial and SME policies.

Md Munim Hassan, director general of the Department of Patent, Design & Trademarks at the Ministry of Industries, reiterated that compliance is mandatory in every sector and enhances business credibility. “For environmental or social compliance, each individual should take responsibility. We should not rely on others,” he added. Hassan also highlighted that from 2016 to 2022, Bangladesh obtained Geographic Indication (GI) certification for 17 products, with 14 already certified and 30 more in progress since 2023.

Md Anwarul Alam, additional secretary and director general of the Bangladesh Accreditation Board (BAB) at the Ministry of Industries, emphasized that BAB is directly linked with ESG, working to ensure the quality of goods and services with certifications recognized globally. He urged all businesses to seek BAB accreditation and noted the connection between ESG and the vision of Smart Bangladesh.

Keynote speaker Zaku Uz Zaman, country representative of UNIDO, Bangladesh, explained that the term ‘ESG’ originated in the early 2000s, with its foundations established in the 1990s. He described ESG as an evaluation of a firm’s commitment to environmental, social, and governance factors. Zaman acknowledged the challenges posed by the lack of a defined format for ESG reporting, making it difficult for management to understand reporting requirements. He concluded that compliance with ESG reporting would help Bangladeshi companies remain competitive after graduating from LDC status.

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