Bangladesh: Latest apparel and textile news & analysis
Some 200 companies have now signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh following the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in Dhaka, which killed more than 1,100 people in 2013.
The Better Work Bangladesh initiative is due to "get going in earnest next year" as part of wider efforts to improve working conditions in the country's ready-made garment industry.
As safety improvements at Bangladesh garment factories move from inspections to remediation, stakeholders warn the hard work is just beginning. Access to low-cost finance is one of the main challenges facing firms going forward, but so too is a shift in mindset - with a greater focus on worker training seen as key to creating lasting change.
Will efforts to improve fire, building and worker safety in Bangladesh's apparel industry translate into more business - and higher prices? While a major discussion point for ready-made garment exporters at the recent Dhaka Apparel Summit, retailers and brands prefer to focus instead on the business benefits of a compliant supply chain.
The Bangladesh ready-made garment industry has set out an ambitious goal to double its exports to $50bn over the next seven years as it works to rebuild its reputation in the wake of recent tragedies. But while the plans are big in scope they are also short on detail, and executives at last week's inaugural Dhaka Apparel Summit suggest massive challenges still remain if the country is to reach its goal.
The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety has tapped Mark Chubb to oversee fire safety operations and training in the country and guide remediation efforts in all garment factories its members source from.
More than 100 additional labour inspectors have been recruited in Bangladesh and are being trained in an International Labour Organization (ILO) programme.
Italian fashion giant Benetton is to make a contribution to the Bangladesh Rana Plaza Trust Fund that compensates victims of the disaster that occurred nearly two years ago.
A European Parliament human rights delegation is calling for more support for the Bangladesh Accord following a visit to ready-made garment factory in Dhaka this week.
Trade union representatives from European garment and retail companies have met to discuss ways to support the Bangladesh Accord on Fire & Building Safety.
A new business council aimed at improving trading relations between the European Union and Bangladesh has been established.
A major effort has been launched to complete the remaining safety inspections of all export-oriented readymade garment factories in Bangladesh.
Business leaders in Bangladesh have called for an end to ongoing political violence, warning that it could deal a “serious blow” to the country’s economy.
The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety is to start initial inspections on a new batch of factories added by signatories since August last year.
Setting up an employment injury insurance (EII) scheme for Bangladesh’s ready-made garment sector would benefit the workforce and the industry as a whole, says the ILO (International Labour Organization).
The explosive growth of the Bangladeshi ready-made garment industry is more likely to be accompanied by accusations of sweatshop exploitation from labour rights activists than praise for the positive opportunities it brings the sector's largely-women workforce.
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