The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety in progress

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety in progress

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Gap Inc., and other major retailers are pushing ahead that the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety – who’s members they are – is progressing reports the WSJ Wall Street Journal and other reliable sources

USD 45 millions in funding by members began to be disbursed and the Alliance plans to hire an executive director and a management firm to oversee funds and programmes. The group is made up of 20 companies and the 21st new member is Costco Wholesale Corp. The finalisation of the common fire- and building safety standard is expected to be put in place by September 10, 2013.

WAl-Mart Stores Inc. has been responding to questions from investors over its sourcing practises in Bangladesh on August 29, 2013, indicating that its shareholders have some concerns about a series of deadly disasters at overseas garment factories making clothes for Wal-Mart and other Western retailers.  Wal-Mart set up also a “zero tolerance policy” for violations of its global sourcing standards providing that it will immediately sever ties with any company that subcontracts work to factories without the retailer’s knowledge. Previously, the company followed – according to a Wall Street Journal report a “three strikes” approach to policing suppliers, The U.S. giant has also released a list of more than 250 banned factories it no longer does business with in Bangladesh!

Macy’s Inc. and Target have launched a five year deal in July to train workers and inspect factories. It will require factory owners in Bangladesh to pay for their own safety renovations, but entails a commitment by the retailers to provide USD 100 million in low cost loans for that purpose. Participation in the lending program is voluntary and varies by retailer.  Hennes & Mauritz, Tommy Hilfiger parent PVH Corp, and other 70 predominantly European companies directly pay for the cost of repairing and renovating some 5000 Bangladesh garment factories, however critics maintain that there is no separate legal binding act behind. Further critic is offered due to the absence of sustaining measures, since the retailers should let the measures be controlled by auditors, chosen and paid for by the retailers.  Therefore the critics believe that the measures will not have the pretended success, as well as the leading entrusted persons of the North American Alliance have had similar charges before and their doing was not crowned by success as we all know.  The board is chaired by former U.S. Representative Ellen O’Kane Tauscher, a California Democrat who served in the State Department before working at a Washington law firm, she sees her job to serve as an independent monitor and ensure that the companies follow through with their safety plans. She added: “I have no conflict because I have never worked with these companies before and came on board to give credibility and be the person who is going to ensure accountability. We expect scrutiny, but it is also important to give us time to put the plans into action”.

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