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.

The US company said it had also made “related ethical sourcing programme enhancements”, informing suppliers of the changes via a recently distributed letter.

“These new policies are designed to strengthen compliance of important safety standards around the world,” said Rajan Kamalanathan, vice president of ethical sourcing at Wal-Mart.

“But we know that we cannot do this alone. Our objective is to work with like-minded companies to raise the bar for the entire industry.”

Walmart recently informed NGOs, companies and government officials of its new policy to receive their feedback, Kamalanathan said.

“Programme enhancements like this are the first steps of many as we work to create more transparent and productive supply chains that increase opportunity for those who work in them,” he added.

Walmart’s move comes after last week’s announcement that the Bangladesh government, employer groups and labour leaders are to work together to ensure fire safety measures are put in place at garment factories across the country.

They aim to have a national action plan on fire safety in place by the end of February, following the Tazreen Fashion fire, which killed well over 100 people in December.

Stakeholders in Bangladesh are also calling on international development organisations, brands, retail buyers, donor agencies and non-governmental organisations to help in the implementation of the fire safety plan.