AAFA Hosts First International Product Safety Conference in Bangladesh
November 30, 2011
Arlington, VA – The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) today hosted its first ever International Product Safety and Restricted Substances Conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The conference was presented in cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham Bangladesh) and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). The conference highlighted the ninth edition of the AAFA Restricted Substances List (RSL) covering apparel, footwear, and home textiles. The list, which was recently updated in its ninth iteration on September 30, 2011, has become a go-to industry resource and can be downloaded for free on the AAFA Web site. A similar conference will be held on December 6, 2011 in Bangalore, India.
“Bangladesh continues to grow as a top supplier of apparel and footwear to the U.S. market,” said AAFA Vice President of International Trade Nate Herman, a conference presenter. “The conference we presented today has helped educate industry stakeholders in Bangladesh on critical product safety, sustainability, chemical management, and social responsibility issues facing a global apparel and footwear industry.”
“Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in different areas since its liberation in the year 1971. It’s over a decade that Bangladesh has been averaging six percent GDP growth” said AmCham Bangladesh Executive Director A. Gafur. “Incredible enthusiasm and keen interest for this conference demonstrate the seriousness of the industries and businesses of Bangladesh to take Bangladesh to its next level. I am convinced that Bangladesh, a vibrant nation, is floating on tremendous amount of opportunities and has the potentials to rapidly grow and thrive."
AAFA’s International Product Safety and Sustainability Conference in Bangladeshbrought together industry leaders to educate nearly 350 attendees on the numerous regulatory standards, restricted substances lists, and sustainability issues facing the industry today. Among the many industry experts on the event agenda, the conference keynote address was delivered by Commissioner Nancy Nord, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. A feature presentation on corporate sustainability was given by Sridevi Kalavakolanu, Director Ethical Sourcing, India Subcontinent, Middle East, Africa, and Europe, Wal-Mart.
In recent years product safety and sustainability have come to the forefront of the U.S. apparel and footwear industry. Product recalls and inefficient supply chains are costly, drain company resources, and cause delays. AAFA began presenting its international conferences in order to educate the industry and its suppliers on what is expected of them by consumers, governments, brands, and retailers.
During this most recent conference, discussion topics focused on a variety of product safety and sustainability issues, including product safety regulations in the United States, the European Union, and other nations, required import and export documentation, the use of RSLs throughout the supply chain, testing and compliance requirements, and the OIA Eco-Index.
The conference, which was AAFA’s tenth international product safety program in the last three years, was presented in cooperation with AmCham Bangladesh and BGMEA. Conference sponsors included American &Efrid, Bureau Veritas, Intertek Consumer Goods, MTS, Oeko-Tex/Hohenstein Lab, Olympus Innov-X, SGS Consumer Testing, Thermo Scientific Niton Handheld XRF Analyzers, TUV SUD, UL-STR, Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production, and XOS.
The AAFA RSL, first released in the summer of 2007, is the first of its kind. The list covers chemicals and other substances whose presence in a product is restricted through a government regulation or law. The list identifies the most restrictive iteration of that regulation world wide. Every six months, the publication is reviewed, updated, and the latest version is made available for free on the AAFA Web site.
The ninth release of the English translation on September 30, 2011, has been updated to reflect changes spurred by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, as well as new state and international regulations. The AAFA RSL was translated into Vietnamese (currently based on release 7), Chinese (currently based on release 8), and Spanish (currently based on release 7) to better serve more segments of the apparel and footwear industry supply chain. AAFA will continue to work with the AAFA RSL peer review group to maintain all translations of the RSL.
In addition to the global RSL, AAFA continues to offer training sessions and workshops on regulating restricted substances in apparel, footwear, and textile products, as well as on broader product safety, sustainability, and environmental compliance issues. The next domestic AAFA Product Safety and Sustainability Seminar and Exhibition will be held February 2, 2012 in New York, NY.
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market. AAFA's mission is to promote and enhance its members' competitiveness, productivity and profitability in the global market by minimizing regulatory, commercial, political, and trade restraints.