Becoming a frontrunner in any industry cannot be accomplished just by peddling products or providing services. A company’s role extends beyond mere offerings, encompassing duties tied to environmental and socio-economic matters within its market sphere. In this vein, consider Hatil, a prominent furniture manufacturer and global brand hailing from Bangladesh. Their commitment spans sustainable production and corporate social obligations. This truth becomes evident upon delving into Hatil’s manufacturing procedures, which diligently address waste management, recycling, and the judicious employment of resources. Today we’ll shed light on Hatil’s journey toward securing Sustainability and fulfilling Corporate Social Responsibilities.
Hatil’s founder, Mr. Salim H. Rahman, traces his roots back to Farashganj in Old Dhaka, where his father, the late Habibur Rahman, established a timber business known as Timber Industry Ltd. After completing his studies, Salim joined his father’s timber enterprise. However, Salim H. Rahman harbored an entrepreneurial spirit that compelled him to envision innovative changes for his father’s business. His aspirations extended beyond the conventional boundaries, and his distinct perspective received affirmation from his father.
One pivotal day, a customer named Lata Hossain arrived at their establishment seeking wood for crafting doors. In a moment of inspiration, Salim proposed crafting the doors himself. Lata agreed, advancing Tk 50,000 as payment. This marked the genesis of Hatil’s journey. The name “Hatil” draws from the initials of his father’s enterprise, HA Timber Industry Ltd. This name encapsulated their legacy.
In 1988, Salim H. Rahman took a financial leap by borrowing funds from his father to inaugurate a door retail shop titled “Hatil Doors” in Dhaka’s Badda region. As demand swelled over time, Hatil’s realm expanded proportionally. Today, Hatil stands as a prominent force in Bangladesh’s furniture sector. In the fiscal year 2021-22, Hatil achieved remarkable sales of Tk 428 crore in furniture, consequently leading the industry with a 10 percent market stake among the nation’s organized furniture manufacturers.
The company boasts an extensive network of showrooms, with 75 within Bangladesh, 18 in India, and 2 franchises in Bhutan. Moreover, Hatil extends its furniture exports to more than 18 countries worldwide, encompassing nations like the United States, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, and Thailand. Recently, Hatil achieved a distinctive honor, emerging as the sole brand in the nation to clinch the esteemed Superbrand Award during the 2023-2024 Superbrand Awards ceremony in April 2023.
This remarkable acknowledgment of the company’s merits stems from its commitment to delivering captivating designs and top-tier products that align with the preferences of Bangladeshi clientele. Furthermore, Hatil ardently upholds sustainable practices across its manufacturing endeavors. These practices encompass the entirety of the production process, from the sourcing of raw materials to the prioritization of recycling and waste management. These efforts have earned Hatil the prestigious title of a Superbrand in Bangladesh.
Embracing sustainable manufacturing and social responsibility, Hatil has pioneered furniture production in Bangladesh by adopting FSC-certified wood. In a remarkable stride, Hatil stands as the country’s first furniture manufacturer to undertake furniture crafting with wood endorsed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a reputable international organization based in Germany that champions sustainable forest practices. The esteemed FSC certification is bestowed upon wood sourced sustainably, safeguarding our environment from harm.
Recognizing the pressing scarcity of forested land within the nation, Hatil has transitioned its teak wood furniture production by incorporating FSC-certified “oak and beech oak” wood, procured from overseas. This strategic shift has not only highlighted Hatil’s dedication to eco-friendly practices but also earned them the maiden FSC certification for a Bangladeshi furniture factory. In addition to the conscientious use of wood, Hatil adopts plywood, MDF, and MFC boards, complementing their commitment to minimizing wood consumption.
In the spirit of waste reduction, Hatil employs advanced wood-cutting technology from Germany, effectively curbing manual wastage in the manufacturing cycle. These cutting panels are intelligently designed and pre-configured to diverse dimensions, ensuring precise wood cutting. Consequently, wood wastage is curtailed. Surplus materials that would otherwise be discarded find purpose through the creation of particle boards, promoting a circular economy.
A modern central dust collector system is thoughtfully integrated into Hatil’s factory infrastructure to address the challenge posed by fine wood dust generated during cutting. By efficiently gathering these airborne particles, Hatil curbs both environmental pollution and health risks faced by its workforce. The collected wood dust is ingeniously transformed into briquettes or wood bricks, serving as fuel for factory operations, aligning with the commitment to cleanliness and sustainability.
Hatil displays a profound understanding of resource optimization by reprocessing fabric and foam waste – a byproduct of their handmade furniture ventures. Through innovative efforts, these materials are converted into rebonded foam, demonstrating Hatil’s sustainable ethos at every turn.
The pursuit of eco-friendliness further extends to the varnishing stage. Hatil employs the ecologically sound “UV Lacquer Finish” for furniture, adhering to international standards. The company employs distinct methodologies for 2D and 3D furniture – UV lacquers for 2D products and robotic arm technology for 3D items. The rationale behind this choice lies in reducing waste, where the precision of robotics minimizes excess, as parameters are predetermined.
Hatil’s commitment to sustainability has been publicly acknowledged through accolades like the Green Operation Award of 2013, a testament to their eco-conscious production practices.
Recognizing the substantial energy consumption entailed in automated manufacturing, Hatil has taken a proactive stance in diminishing pressure on the national grid. The “Green Initiative” has materialized in collaboration with the Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), yielding a rooftop solar system generating 2.67 MW of renewable energy. With an investment of approximately 18 (17.78) crores, this solar array adorns the Hatil Complex in Kashimpur, Gazipur, heralding a new era of energy-efficient and environmentally conscious manufacturing. This renewable energy endeavor empowers Hatil’s operations, fostering an approach that is both forward-thinking and sustainable.
Social Responsibility Initiatives
Furthermore, Hatil places a strong emphasis on upholding equitable labor practices as a socially responsible entity. The organization diligently adheres to labor regulations in the countries it operates in, guaranteeing just compensation, suitable work hours, and favorable work conditions for its workforce. Alongside this commitment, Hatil actively safeguards its employees against all forms of harassment and discrimination.
In conjunction with providing a secure and healthful workplace, Hatil also administers diverse training and developmental initiatives, geared towards ensuring occupational security and heightened performance. Moreover, Hatil fosters a culture of transparent and open communication, cultivating a positive work milieu within the organization that nurtures a dependable rapport between staff and management.
Hatil’s efforts toward business sustainability and social responsibility have yielded highly positive outcomes. In Bangladesh, the furniture industry currently boasts a market value of approximately 30 thousand crore taka. However, a significant portion of this market is still dominated by traditional, unorganized furniture manufacturers who rely on wood for their production. This reliance on wood has led to the annual felling of numerous trees to meet the demand. This practice has unfortunately contributed to the continuous reduction of forest cover in Bangladesh, consequently increasing the nation’s vulnerability to the adverse effects of global warming. In this context, Hatil, being the premier furniture manufacturing brand in the country, has taken impactful measures.
In any given industry, the actions of the leading player often serve as an inspiration for others. Amidst the ongoing decline in the nation’s forest cover, Hatil has taken the pioneering step of using FSC-certified wood. This move has prompted several other furniture brands within the country to adopt FSC-certified wood in their manufacturing processes. Consequently, a number of furniture manufacturing plants have also obtained FSC certification. The adoption of FSC-certified wood by major furniture brands in the nation is expected to significantly curtail unregulated tree felling. Additionally, Hatil’s influence has sparked a trend of investing in automation among various organizations, aimed at minimizing waste in manufacturing processes. This involves an efficient collection of harmful sawdust and modernizing overall production methods.
The influence of Hatil, along with other prominent brands, has had a ripple effect. Numerous small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in the non-branded furniture sector have begun embracing modernization strategies, taking cues from Hatil’s approach. It is anticipated that if other furniture manufacturers and industries in the country follow suit, prioritizing sustainable and socially responsible manufacturing practices, Hatil’s endeavors could contribute to mitigating the detrimental impacts of global warming.