Mashook Mujib Chowdhury is helping one of the most reputed companies of the RMG sector in Bangladesh, DBL Group to streamline the sustainability agenda within its business operations.
As a Manager of Sustainability in DBL Group, his primary focus has been to promote five of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Goal 1 (No Poverty), Goal 3 (Good Health & Well-being), Goal 4 (Quality Education), Goal 5 (Gender Equality) and Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).
Through his role at DBL Group, he has embarked on multiple initiatives for women empowerment in terms of hygiene career development, motherhood and children. For example, the NGO Phulki provided 6,500 women with SRHR training, and DBL themselves are providing women with highly subsidized sanitary napkins at only 12 cents per pack through their Women Health Initiative. DBL Group’s Female Supervisor Leadership Program has helped the women workers adopt supervisory positions, hence helping them shape up a whole new career path, which can lead to management positions. The Mothers@Work program in partnership with UNICEF is helping the working mothers become better in taking care of their children. 313 pregnant and lactating mothers are more aware of maternity protection and breastfeeding after the initiative. DBL Group is supporting their children’s education expenses: 8,365 children were provided scholarships worth $526,616 in 2018. All these have helped DBL Group achieve reduced absenteeism (3.6%) and turnover (2%) and added production ($1.4 million).
Mashook is leading the publication of Sustainability Reports for DBL Group after he joined the Sustainability Department in 2015. Effectively showcasing not just the financial outcomes of their business operations, but also the tangible and measurable social and environmental impact of DBL Group’s work. Using the SDG Compass as a guide, he linked the programs with different SDGs, defined priorities and set goals for the year 2020 which was reported in DBL Group’s Sustainability Reports 2016 and 2017.
DBL has also been recognized by the Global Compact for SDGs 1 and 5 in the SDG Industry Matrix under the Industrial Manufacturing category. Now, they are in the process of integrating and reporting the progress. Already, DBL signed an agreement with CSR Centre and amfori for a women empowerment program called “Shobola”. DBL Group is currently providing technical support. The project began in 2019 and is targeting Bangladeshi factories to train workers into female supervisors.
“I have nominated Mr. Masook for his extensive and relentless work for ensuring the livelihood, safety, good health as well as decent workplace in DBL. He has ensured a true meaning of women empowerment through his work and initiatives and living by the well-known instance “You empower women, you achieve SDG goals ”. An empowered woman not only improves her livelihood but also contributes to her family, community, and society as a whole.” – Farzanah Chowdhury, CEO and Managing Director, Green Delta Insurance Company Limited and Jury Member.
Given that the factories employ thousands of workers, DBL Group’s “Bandhan” Fair Price Shop was established in 2008 to fulfill their daily necessities. The model has been a pioneer in the industry. Mashook has been leading the expansions of the shops since 2014: with 7 shops in the different factory complexes. “Bandhan” provides all necessary goods at factory price of manufacturers through zero-cash, zero-interest transactions, which reduces the expenditure of workers by 15% to 20%. They are also providing highly subsidized (up to 75%) sanitary napkins in the shops and women salespersons for the convenience of the women. The shop has been recognized under SDG-1 by the Global Compact’s SDG Industry Matrix. With “Bandhan” as an inclusive business model, he has also made DBL a member of the Business Call to Action.
DBL Group has been an active and valuable member of the Global Compact Network Bangladesh. Their policies, practices, and sustainability strategies are in alignment with the Ten Principles of the Global Compact. For example, the Female Supervisor program addresses Principles 1 and 2: women workers can more freely share their grievances with their empowered women supervisors. Education support to workers’ children is encouraging them to pursue higher education, reducing the chances of child labor since affordability for education is a challenge for the parents. For Principles 7, 8 and 9, DBL Group has multiple environmental programs to reduce the effect on raw material usage and resource consumption. Under his guidance, DBL Group has now moved further by integrating the SDGs. He is now leading in monitoring and reporting DBL’s performance regarding the 10 Principles and the SDGs through DBL Group’s Sustainability Reports.
“I am very happy to learn that Mashook Mujib Chowdhury of the DBL Group has been selected to represent Bangladesh in the UN Global Compact SDG Pioneer 2019 competition. The impressive growth story of Bangladesh is driven largely by the country’s noteworthy performance in promoting women’s education and participation in the labor force. Individuals like Mashook have helped change the prevalent societal perception of women in the country. Starting from providing sexual and reproductive health and rights training and providing women with highly subsidized sanitary napkins at only 12 cents per pack to conducting awareness program on maternity protection and breastfeeding and helping train women workers adopt supervisory positions, Mashook and his team have done an outstanding job of promoting women empowerment in Bangladesh and thereby contributed significantly towards the country’s quest for attaining sustainable development.” – Dr Asad Karim Khan Priyo, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, School of Business and Economics, North South University and Jury Member.
Mashook joined DBL Group in the ready-made apparel sector back in 2013 as a Corporate Executive working with compliance in the factory for over one and a half years, understanding legal requirements, buyer codes of conduct, and social and environmental auditing. He has been working with Sustainability issues since joining and was transferred to the Sustainability department in 2015. He is a champion of sustainability, presenting the case to buyers, development partners, and different delegations as well as having the privilege of presenting in front of the honorable Ministers and Ambassadors from the Netherlands and Germany.
Mashook is the eldest child in his family. Before joining DBL Group in 2013, he was an ICT instructor at an educational institution in Bangladesh. Mashook also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.
His contributions to sustainability are not restricted to DBL Group. He is actively raising awareness in the local community through an initiative called the “Community Knowledge Exchange Programs”. Topics include women health and hygiene, the importance of breastfeeding, women empowerment and financial literacy. He believes in SDG goal 17 that the sustainability agenda cannot be pursued alone through a single person but requires partnerships with multiple organizations.