RFL Electronics Limited

Building environmental and social capacity in Bangladesh

CDC committed a $15 million investment to RFL Electronics Limited (REL), a Bangladeshi electronic goods manufacturer and sister firm to the PRAN-RFL Group. Established in 1981, the PRAN-RFL Group started out producing cast iron goods for rural farmers, and has since expanded into various sectors, becoming one of the largest private employers in Bangladesh outside the garment industry.

REL faced challenges relating to labour and working conditions, many of which were linked to the endemic issues in Bangladesh’s manufacturing sector. The ESG I team worked with external advisers to create an E&S team that would support REL’s alignment with international E&S standards. The team attended several on-the-ground workshops and helped to implement a robust and effective E&S management system (ESMS).

REL has already seen improvements as a result of this partnership, including:

  • Improvements in job quality because of changes to working hours, without the company sacrificing productivity.
  • Integration into REL’s systems and closer monitoring ensuring contractors receive proper payment, have access to complaint mechanisms, and stay in safe accommodation.
  • Commitments to improving and expanding existing training and awareness around harassment and gender issues, while supporting women to take more senior roles within the group.
  • Improved occupational health and safety due to the company defining clear roles and responsibilities, improving technical knowledge, and introducing a robust monitoring system.

Providing practical and on-the-ground support may be more resource-intensive, but it can have a greater and longer-term impact, especially when the key objective is to build the capacity of local teams.