Bangladesh: Latest apparel and textile news & analysis
Some 190 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 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).
Factory inspection results in Bangladesh improved gradually in 2014 as brands pushed for higher standards, according to compliance service provider AsiaInspection (AI).
Renewed political tensions and violence in Bangladesh in the first week of January may dent investor confidence in the country and raise risks to growth in the key ready-made garment (RMG) sector, a leading credit ratings firm has warned.
Apparel label business The ITL Group has announced a new joint venture with Bangladesh label, packaging and trim supplier Codes and Labels Ltd.
The Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) has published a 2,100-page “Global Buyers’ Information Directory”.
A five-year project is aiming to popularise apprenticeships in Bangladesh and promote their benefits to workers and the economy alike.
The importance of health and safety committees at ready-made garment factories has been highlighted after a worker was killed by a faulty lift system in Bangladesh.
US non-governmental organisation Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) has teamed up with City Bank to launch a research project to analyse the benefits of offering Bangladeshi garment workers electronic wage payments.
Safety improvements at Bangladesh garment factories are part of a complex process which will take years to complete, the Dhaka Apparel Summit was told.
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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