A new research project will pave the way for more sustainability and safe and healthy working conditions in the leather industry of Bangladesh. The project, which is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s development cooperation Danida (the Danish International Development Agency), will be led by me. See SDU’s write up of the project here,

or read it below:

By Asta Holst Bach, asbac@sam.sdu.dk, 1/1/0001

In a new research project based in Bangladesh, SDU researcher Dewan Ahsan – in collaboration with both researchers and industry – will contribute to promoting sustainable development and ensuring better working conditions in the country’s major leather tanning industry.

The project, named SusLeather, has received DKK 5 million from the development collaboration Danida and marks the first time that a researcher at the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences is at the helm of a Danida initiative.

Below, Dewan Ahsan throws light on the SusLeather project:

What is your research project about and what is the main purpose of the project?

– The leather industry represents the second-largest export revenue in Bangladesh, and the industry is a key part of the global supply chain because the leather goods are sold all over the world. However, the leather industry has issues with poor working conditions in the factories as well as environmental pollution. The overall purpose of the project is therefore to develop new theoretical and empirical knowledge – in the form of a lean strategy – that seeks to improve and maintain good working conditions in the factories, both in terms of health and safety.

– We hope that the project can help to focus on safety and environmental issues in the leather industry and improve sustainability in the sector.

What difference do you expect the project to make in Bangladesh?

– The key difference the project must make is to improve working conditions in the leather industry and make production more sustainable. It is important for Bangladesh but also for global consumers.

– Meeting the SDGs and ensure sustainability worldwide requires that we work together. Furthermore, our research project is also a good example of demonstrating that we can collaborate on research, too. Researchers from Denmark and Bangladesh, private companies in Bangladesh and environmental organisations are involved in the project, and I believe that working together to raise the sustainability of the leather industry will make a bigger difference.

What perspectives do you see in the project?

– The theoretical and empirical knowledge we gain through the project is not only relevant to the leather industry of Bangladesh, but also to other industries in Southeast Asia and in other developing countries. It will thus also be possible to implement the results of the project in the leather and textile industry in countries such as India, Pakistan and China.

Industri Bangladesh DanidaLeather tannery in Bangladesh

Global research collaboration

The new project takes place in collaboration between researchers from the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering at SDU. From Bangladesh, the Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology and a number of leather tanneries are participating.

The SusLeather project was launched in February 2022 and will continue until January 2025.

Cover image: “Parts of the vast Ganges delta, in fact the world’s largest, lie in both Bangladesh and the State of West Bengal, India. Original from NASA. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.” by Free Public Domain Illustrations by rawpixel is licensed under CC BY 2.0.