This website is hosted by a coalition of organizations committed to reforming the Bangladesh leather sector. The formation of this coalition was supported by The Asia Foundation, an international development organization with six decades of experience in improving lives across Asia. Other key partners in the reform coalition include the Centre on Budget and Policy (University of Dhaka), and the South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (SANEM).

Our goal is to demonstrate that Bangladesh has the potential to be a powerhouse in the global leather industry. Realizing this potential will not only boost exports and employment, but will also broaden the economy’s manufacturing base and contribute significantly in taking the Bangladeshi economy forward to Middle-Income Status.

The primary need of the moment for transforming the leather industry is to support a relocation of the tanning sub-sector from its present location in Hazaribagh, in the centre of Dhaka, to a new industrial estate in Savar on the outskirts of the city. The Hazaribagh production base consists of around 200 tanneries on about 50 acres of space. In contrast, the Savar estate has an area of 200 acres, with room for further expansion. The Savar estate also has all the facilities required to ensure environmental compliance of the tanning sub-sector, including most importantly, a Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for treating waste before discharge into the environment.

By ensuring environmental compliance, the leather sector will be able to increase exports to markets such as the European Union and the United States, and will attract significantly more foreign investment into the leather industry in Bangladesh. Furthermore, the use of environmentally compliant output from the Savar will lead to greater value addition in the Bangladesh economy, as it will encourage a graduation of the industry to finished leather goods and footwear.

The reform coalition supported by The Asia Foundation has contributed significantly to expediting the relocation process by working with the key stakeholders in the government and within the leather industry over the past two years. Several important milestones  have already been accomplished, and we are optimistic that the relocation will be completed by 2016.read more…

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