The executive director of US based labour-rights group the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) has told just-style that clothing manufacturers and their buyers have a "moral obligation" to boost factory safety in Bangladesh by spending an extra 10 cents to make each garment.

His comments follow the release of a detailed WRC study on Bangladesh factory safety, inspired after a devastating factory fire killed at least 111 workers last month.

"With roughly seven billion garments exported from Bangladesh each year an additional ten cents per garment would yield US$700m per annum," said WRC executive director Scott Nova.

He claimed the total amount required for building renovation, safety equipment installation, and related costs to make Bangladesh factories safe would be US$3bn, which he suggested could be spread over five years at US$600m annually.

And it could be less. Nova agreed the US$3bn figure was a "high estimate" assuming all factory buildings would need major renovations, when they might not.

Nova urged buyers to compare the cost in the context of the size of apparel sourcing from Bangladesh by US and European companies. "Bangladesh will export over US$100bn worth of apparel over the next five years to Western brands and retailers."

Therefore "three billion dollars is thus a small fraction of the money major brands and retailers will be pouring into Bangladesh to procure cheap garments," Nova added.