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Both US & EU plans aim at safety in Bangladesh RMG units
Jul '13
The apparel retailers in the US and the EU are aiming at safety in Bangladesh readymade garments (RMG) factories although they have adopted different initiatives to ensure safety in the clothing firms of the country.
The two strong plans created by the clothing brands and suppliers to improve working conditions in readymade garment factories of Bangladesh are the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative by the US and the Accord on Fire and Building Safety by stakeholders in the EU.
Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative, a binding five-year initiative by the US apparel brands and suppliers, will set aggressive timelines and accountability of inspection, training as well as worker empowerment. On the other hand, the EU stakeholders will focus on improving supply chains, achieve better conditions for employees and learn from best practice.
Speaking to fibre2fashion, senior vice-president & global chief compliance officer of Walmart, Mr. Jay Jorgensen said, “We believe companies and government have a responsibility to ensure that tragedies like those in Bangladesh do not happen again and that we really can work together to empower government as well as private parties to act on dangerous safety conditions.”
“We can also ensure accountability through actions such as requiring that 100 percent of factories be inspected in the first year of the alliance, requiring safety training in 100 percent of these factories, and by regularly reporting on our activities,” he adds.
Ms. Justine Greening, Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), says, “Bangladesh’s tragic factory collapse earlier this year was a wake-up call about the urgent need to improve safety standards for employees in developing countries.”
“Two months on, the UK Government is working with the Government of Bangladesh to offer technical support and advice on standards to the apparel factories of the country,” she mentions.
According to her, British clothing business must be a force for good in the developing world too, so that they can help aid dependency through jobs.
Talking about the factory safety initiative by the US apparel firms, Mr. Jorgensen says, “The Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative is based on a shared commitment among an alliance of brands, retailers and other stakeholders to improve workers’ safety in Bangladesh.”
“The Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative will move quickly and decisively to create uniform safety standards. It will also be the basis for factory inspections and training to be conducted by the alliance,” he informs. 

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