Compliance campaigns set to take a new direction
Two campaigns carried out over the past two years by two groups of activists have achieved very different results. Whereas Greenpeace has successfully corralled major brands and retailers into its Detox programme, the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement (BFBSA) campaign has struggled to make a mark. It seems the Bangladesh factory fire row is reshaping the future of compliance.
Two campaigns carried out over the past two years by two groups of activists have achieved very different results. Whereas Greenpeace has successfully corralled major brands and retailers into its Detox programme, the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement (BFBSA) campaign has struggled to make a mark. Mike Flanagan looks at what the Bangladesh factory fire row tells us about the future of compliance.
The European Commission has called on the Bangladesh authorities to act immediately to ensure apparel factories comply with international labour standards following two fires that have killed more than 119 workers.
Spanish retail giant Inditex is sending a joint mission to Bangladesh next week with the IndustriALL global trade union federation following the fire at an unauthorised subcontractor where seven workers died.
Retail giant Wal-Mart is to enforce a “zero tolerance” policy on unauthorised sub-contracting with suppliers, in a bid to improve safety standards following the Tazreen fire.
Global apparel buyers, importers and other industry stakeholders are being urged to treat the recent garment factory fire in Bangladesh as a wake-up call to work together to establish a sustainable factory model with improved worker safety.
US brands and retailers were baling out of Bangladesh even before the fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory killed more than 110 people at the end of last month. And given the subsequent criticism aimed at Walmart for sourcing there, many other buyers must also be wondering whether the country continues to be worth the risk, according to Mike Flanagan.
Spanish retail giant Inditex has joined an industry wide initiative that will see it cut hazardous chemicals from its clothing by 2020.
Instead of searching for new sourcing hot-spots, Mike Flanagan is more concerned with new risks to production in previously stable garment-making environments. Labour disruptions, inflation, political unrest, mass illness, safety infractions are among the new raft of problems he terms the perils of social risk.
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