Blog: Leonie BarrieBangladesh factory fire fallout continues

Leonie Barrie | 28 January 2013

As news emerges of yet more deaths in a garment factory fire in Bangladesh at the weekend, the repercussions of the Tazreen Fashion blaze last November, in which 112 people lost their lives, continue to reverberate across the industry.

In a timely comment at the beginning of the week, David Birnbaum argued that the Tazreen fire was the result of at least one customer's decision that minimal working conditions and subsistence wages are not cost-effective. The challenge now, he said, is to find a solution.

The factory had been producing apparel for Wal-Mart - and the retail giant last week outlined plans to enforce a "zero tolerance" policy on unauthorised sub-contracting with suppliers, in a bid to improve safety standards. The US company said it had also made "related ethical sourcing programme enhancements", informing suppliers of the changes via a recently distributed letter.

But whether or not these new policies will make a difference - or even be fully enforced, is open to debate. Industry watchers told just-style that there is "some value" in the announcement if the retailer follows through with its commitments, and that Wal-Mart should be congratulated for its action. But they also say the new rules do not go far enough and that enforcement could be a problem.

just-style also published details of the new guidelines, outlined in a 10-page letter that Wal-Mart sent to its suppliers.

Also stepping into the debate, the European Parliament asked Bangladeshi authorities to put in place health and safety measures to boost factory safety, after a resolution was adopted by MEPs. It will now be sent to authorities including the Bangladesh government and EU Member States.

And labour groups are seeking EUR3m (US$4m) in compensation for the families of victims killed in the Tazreen fire, along with an immediate and transparent investigation into the events leading up to the blaze.


BLOG

Big gap between Ethiopia export goals and reality

Ethiopia may have more trump cards to play than any other sub-Sahara African country when it comes to developing a competitive cotton, textile and garment supply chain, but it still has a rough road a...

BLOG

Change is afoot in the retail calendar

Once a bellwether of US retailers' likely performance over the upcoming holiday, sales during the just-gone Black Friday/Thanksgiving weekend have dropped for the second year in a row....

BLOG

Seeking alternatives to rising labour costs

Instead of relocating production in an attempt to sidestep the challenge of rising labour costs, China's textile and clothing manufacturers should work to create a more sustainable industry....

BLOG

Revised wage ladder marks step toward living wage

An online tool to help apparel brands, retailers and manufacturers work towards improved wages for garment workers in global supply chains has been updated in a move that marks another step towards th...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?