The case study illustrates that better working conditions can be a business case, even in highly competitive sectors with low margins, such as the garment sector in Bangladesh. DBL, a vertically integrated knit garment manufacturer in Bangladesh, faces stiff regional competition from companies that are able to use their workforce more effectively. To bridge the worker productivity gap, DBL adopted good and safe working conditions by investing in building, fire, and electrical safety and providing employees with loyalty incentives. The interventions led to lowered absenteeism, higher employee satisfaction and decreased staff turnover, which resulted in higher employee productivity and long term cost savings for DBL. In combination with training programs and resource efficiency measures, these effects have led to less downtime, increased wages and the strengthening of DBL’s competitive advantage in the market. The results have allowed DBL to pay higher wages than the industry average and enabled DBL to further invest in better working conditions. The experience of the DBL group highlights that sometimes small changes can lead to substantial business impacts.The case study is a result of DEG’s evaluation work regarding the development effectiveness of the transactions it co-finances.
"Let’s Work, in close collaboration with the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), compiled a series of case studies that demonstrate how companies – who work with the public sector and educational institutions – can play a vital role in increasing the skills and employability of thousands of job market entrants and seekers.
When investing in emerging markets, private sector companies are faced with two main challenges: (1) to find employees with the right set of skills and (2) a lack of required quality and quantity of goods and services provided by suppliers. Firms can benefit from a well-trained workforce in more ways than through increased production.The purpose of this exercise was to understand why and how the private sector addresses the constraint it faces of accessing good quality skilled workforce – both as their own employees and also skills in their value chains.
The initiatives were categorized into three areas: workforce development, value chain development and community development."