Keynote Speakers

Prof Vathsala Wickramasinghe
Prof. Vathsala Wickramasinghe
Department of Management of Technology
Faculty of Engineering
University of Moratuwa
Title: People management for a sustainable apparel sector

Abstract: The optimization of socio-technical systems is an important requirement for sustainability of a glob-ally competitive garment industry. This demands designing appropriate organizational structures, policies and processes understanding the interactions between people and the other elements of a system such as technology and production processes. The conditions that foster human potential and optimize human well-being in the garment industry have theoretical and practical significance, for producers and consumers alike.

BRIAN W. JACOBSBrian W. Jacobs, PhD
Associate Professor, Decision Sciences
Graziadio Business School
Pepperdine University
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
Office (310) 506-4875
Title: The Role of Market Forces in Corporate Responsible Sourcing – Lessons from Rana Plaza

A common belief is that the risks and costs of tragedies like the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse are sufficient to motivate Western firms to shift production sourcing to developed, high-cost countries rather than developing, low-cost countries. In other words, it is assumed that capital market and consumer market forces are sufficient to change firm sourcing behaviours. To examine this assumption, we studied the stock market reaction to global apparel retailers with significant sourcing in Bangladesh at the time of the Rana Plaza disaster, as well as their corporate performance post-tragedy, and Bangladeshi garment exports post-tragedy.  The evidence suggests that market forces alone are insufficient to improve the responsible sourcing practices of Western firms.  Instead, we advocate for a more balanced approach with roles for buying firms, NGOs, and regulators.

Dr. Nikhil Ranjan Dhar
Professor, Industrial & Production Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology
Title: Impact of Lean on RMG Industry in Bangladesh


Jan VangJan Vang
Professor with Specific Responsibilities,
Behavioural Operations and
Innovation Management,
Aalborg University, Denmark
Title: Soft barriers to a creating a socially sustainable garment industry

Abstract: Recent years have witnessed an increased dedication to ensuring that the garment industry is socially sustainable. Many such initiatives have failed to deliver the expected results or have been cancelled out by conflicting rationales. In operations management lean has frequently been assumed to be a driver of social sustainability but in the garment industry in the global south results have often been poor, thus lean is often argued to be mean. This keynote aims at nuancing this interpretation and argues that there are indeed numerous barriers in need of being addressed if a lean intervention should be socially sustainable among global garment suppliers located in the global south. While the conditions imposed on the global supplier’s conditions impacts the possibilities of creating a lean-based socially sustainable garment production there are still options for the global suppliers. Yet, global suppliers need to soft factors related to competencies, communication and commitment to ensure that lean does not become mean.

Marsha Dickson
Co-Director of Sustainable Apparel Initiative
Irma Ayers Professor of Human Services
University of Delaware
308 Alison Hall South
Newark, DE 19716
Title: Improving Sustainability for Retailers, Brands, and Suppliers through Better Buying

Abstract: The key to every sustainable business relationship is mutual understanding and shared goals. In the consumer goods industries, realizing shared goals between Retailers, Brands, and Suppliers has been challenged by the absence of transparency, particularly in purchasing related activities. This “elephant in the room” is connected to many of the social and environmental sustainability challenges retailers and brands are attempting to address in their supply chains, but it also impacts business profitability for all supply chain partners. Better BuyingTM is a bold idea that addresses the lack of clear, independent data about buying processes, and related outcomes that has impacted the ability of Retailers, Brands, and Suppliers to make mutually beneficial change. Learn how Better BuyingTM is using applied research to reframe the conversation between Retailers, Brands and Suppliers, and through greater clarity and understanding, is creating a new supply chain system with more transparent information to guide responsible behavior of all stakeholders.

Prof. Dr. Engr. Ayub Nabi Khan
Professor & Acting Vice Chancellor,
BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology (BUFT)

Title : University Shaping up Future Graduate for Sustainable Manufacturing in Textile & Fashion 

Abstract: Sustainable higher education has emerged for universities to lead society towards a sustainable future and considered a distinct but interdisciplinary specialization of study and practice within sustainable science, education for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
The education required to accomplish this is a new way of thinking and learning about integrated, systemic solutions not just to the economic and environmental challenges but also the interdependent health, social challenges. Above all, this new way of thinking uses the green concept as the focal point for understanding the deep connection between manufacturing, economics, energy, the environment and social well-being.
Universities are considered to have three missions, namely teaching, research and community services. Universities are therefore tasked to critically engage with values in order to produce students who can play a role in seeking solutions to industrial and societal problems.
In this Key note Paper emphasis is given how to shaping up further University Graduates for educating with sustainable learning at Textile & fashion higher education institutions.