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Institute for Sustainable Communities Launches Bangladesh EHS+ Center with North South University

ISC Will Train 2,000 Factory Managers Annually on Environment, Health and Safety Skills Development


Dhaka, Bangladesh – May 12, 2014 – The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) and North South University (NSU) announced their partnership to support the new Bangladesh EHS+ Center in Dhaka. The Center, which will begin trainings for factory managers later this year, is Bangladesh’s first training center for environment, health and safety training specially designed to help managers improve worker safety as well as energy management and environmental performance. The partners hosted a reception at North South University on May 12, featuring dignitaries from ISC, the University, and the Swedish, US and Bangladeshi governments.


George Hamilton, President of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, spoke at the event: “ISC and our partners are focused on developing a comprehensive and affordable training center in Bangladesh that will be around for the long term – reducing harmful emissions while improving health and safety conditions for workers. We are very proud to be partnering with NSU, Sweden and Walmart to open the EHS+ Center and contribute to the sustainable development of Bangladesh.” Other speakers included Ambassador Kenny-Lindahl (Sweden); Deputy Chief of Mission Danilowicz (US); NSU Vice Chancellor Sarkar; Sangita Ahmed, President of BWCCI (Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry); and Md. Shahidullah Azim, Vice President of BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association).


The rationale for the Bangladesh EHS+ Center is simple: the need is urgent, and the potential impact on the lives of workers is exponential. Deadly factory fires and the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh underscore the need for better practices around worker health and safety, while the country’s profound vulnerability to climate impacts such as cyclones, flooding, and drought reinforce the need for action to improve the economic sustainability of manufacturing. In addition, the predominance of women working in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector offers an opportunity to improve gender awareness and increase opportunities for women in the manufacturing sector.


Dr. Syed Saad, Dean of the NSU School of Business, noted that, “The partnership forged between ISC and NSU to establish the EHS+ Center is a natural result of the many shared values and mission of our two organizations. We both care deeply and passionately about making a positive difference in our communities through educating and equipping people with the tools and know-how whereby they become change agents for a better world.”


Funding for the Bangladesh EHS+ Center has been provided by the Embassy of Sweden and Walmart Corporation. The Bangladesh EHS+ Center will be part of ISC’s EHS+ Network, which includes two EHS+ Centers in China and one, launching late this year, in India. ISC has developed the Network to provide high-quality training and support the principles of sustainable manufacturing in Asia.


The invitation-only reception on May 12 was followed by a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities for sustainable manufacturing in Bangladesh. Participants in the discussion included Matthew DeGroot (ISC), Nazneen Huq (HER Project), David Hasanat (Viyellatex Group), and Søren Kannik (NCCI, A-TEX).




ISC’s innovative EHS programs began in the heavily industrialized region of Guangdong, China, in 2009; their second Center opened in Jiangsu in 2011. Each Center is a public-private partnership that pairs international nonprofit ISC with a local host organization, provides technical training in essential skills for EHS management and sustainability leadership. After completing the training, factory managers work to improve health and safety on the job and drive improvements in environmental health, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas management. Hundreds of global brands have sent their local EHS managers and suppliers to the EHS+ Centers, and consider the program an integral part of achieving their global sustainability goals.



An international nonprofit organization, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has 23 years of practical experience working with local leaders to accelerate climate change and sustainability solutions. ISC’s programs are designed to facilitate peer learning and engagement among local leaders charged with the work of making their communities more sustainable. ISC has led 98 projects in 30 countries, and currently works in China, India, Bangladesh, Serbia and the United States.



North South University, the first private university in Bangladesh, was established by a group of philanthropists, industrialists, bureaucrats and academics in 1992. The honorable President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is the Chancellor of NSU. The mission of NSU is to produce highly skilled manpower, visionary professional leaders and responsible and enlightened citizens. Currently, NSU offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in 29 subjects and its current enrollment is approximately 15,000 students.