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Benetton clarifies position on Rana Plaza tragedy
02
Apr '14
Benetton Group clarifies its position with respect to often-raised questions regarding its presence in Bangladesh:
 
-Benetton Group has never had any kind of continuous relationship with the suppliers that operated in the Rana Plaza building.
 
-New Wave Style, a local supplier, only received occasional orders, amounting to 0.06% of our production.
 
-Even though these were only occasional and very small orders, before starting supplies we performed an audit, which revealed no problems related to workers’ conditions. Only in a later phase did we obtain further information that indicated that the conditions to continue the working relationship with New Wave Style no longer existed. As a result we took the initiative to terminate all relationships even before the tragic accident.
 
-All the suppliers to Benetton Group and related companies are on the list of firms that will be audited under the auspices of the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord will touch on with its auditing programme. The Accord is a five-year commitment by all stakeholders involved which works towards significantly improving fire and building safety as well as working conditions in the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh.
 
- As to why we have remained in Bangladesh, we would like to reiterate that immediately after the tragic events of Rana Plaza, the government of Bangladesh publicly called on companies not to leave the country: the textile sector accounts for about 30% of its GDP. 
 
That is why companies like ours have chosen to stay, also and above all to stimulate and accompany a change that is undoubtedly necessary. It was this that led us to be advocates and among the earliest signatories of the Bangladesh Fire & Building Safety Accord. 
 
On behalf of all signatories, the Accord is also conducting over 1,500 rigorous inspections, meaning - just to be clear - that the benefits not only affect those who work for our suppliers but also extend to those who work for companies that are not part of the Accord.
 
- As for the support provided to the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse, we immediately acted alongside BRAC, the largest nongovernmental organisation (NGO) in the world in terms of people receiving help, and, more importantly, an NGO founded and based in Bangladesh since 1972. 
 
In addition to this, we were at the same time proponents of the round table created for the victims' fund, which also involved Clean Clothes/Abiti Puliti, and we were one of four companies that coordinated it. We ended our involvement in the round table when we realised that times were lengthening and we were coming to the point of envisaging a purely voluntary contribution system, one which was not at all proportionate to each company’s presence in Bangladesh. 


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