SDG Pioneer for Large National and Multinational companies

M.A. Jabbar

Managing Director, DBL Group


Asia- Oceania

Embracing the superhero within Becoming an SDG Pioneer is like becoming a sustainability superhero, fighting to make our world greener and fairer. What's your special power for this mission?

My superpower is the Power of Five: at DBL, we call this Sustainability 5.0. People, Process, Product, Community and Environment are the pillars that constitute this power. By proactively leading and engaging our organization in these five areas, I am fighting to make our world greener and fairer, aligning with the SDGs.

Origin story: Please briefly describe your journey towards becoming an SDG Pioneer.

After completing my Bachelor’s Degree in 1987 at the University of Texas, I returned to my home country of Bangladesh to create job opportunities for the unemployed. DBL Group started with fewer than 100 people in 1991. Today, with a focus on expansion and diversification, we have more than 45,000 employees. 

Our journey with the UN Global Compact began in 2013 when we joined as a Participant. Our first mention by the Global Compact in its publications was in the Industrial Matrix report in 2015. Two of our case studies were mentioned – one under SDG 1 for the Bandhan Fair Price Shop and another for SDG 5 under the Female Supervisor Leadership program. These mentions were a major motivation for further aligning our corporate initiatives with the SDGs.

Turning passion into purpose: Your SDG Pioneer recognition shines a spotlight on your incredible work. Please explain the work for which you are being recognized as an SDG Pioneer and how your interest in this field developed.

My passion and thirst for fulfilling my dream of being a part of a green industry pushed me to think out of the box. In 2012, I formed a research and development team leading innovation to create yarns from recycled materials. These materials are sourced from different processes within our supply chain and are a step toward ensuring responsible consumption and production. The creation of this yarn has also contributed to process elimination, saving enormous amounts of energy, water, dyes, chemicals and carbon emissions.

 Every epic tale has its share of challenges: Please share some challenges and battles you've encountered while pursuing your SDG ambitions. 

For any innovation, the key challenge is acceptance. Integrating SDG 9 ("industry, innovation and infrastructure) along with SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) requires specific sets of parameters. It was not from day one that our products produced from recycled materials were accepted. Quality and productivity are huge factors in recycling. The dedication of my team has enabled us to make quality products with sustainable materials. We are setting the roadmap for our circularity journey.

5. Accomplishments: As part of your SDG journey, what stands out as the most rewarding? Please describe a moment that made you feel like you were unlocking a new level of impact.

Being recognized as a 2023 Local SDG Pioneer opened my way to access the global stage. The SDG Pioneer recognition is a testimony to all our sustainability efforts. Representation of my country Bangladesh and my industry DBL by the UN Global Compact is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. My presence being so near to the UN headquarters is unlocking a new level of creating impact.

6. Next chapters: What’s next in your career and journey? Please give us a sneak peek!

On 1 January 2023, I announced this as the Year of Transformation and Development for DBL Group. By the year 2025, we want to become a more sustainable business. We want to keep aligning with the global requirements of all our stakeholders. Our Transformation 4.0 Model focuses on Governance, Leadership Development, Energy Efficiency and Textile Recycling. I am also proud to say we have undertaken a Food Security Program for our 45,000 employees to assist them in fighting inflation.

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