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Benetton pays double of PwC proposal to Rana Plaza Trust
21
Apr '15
Italian fashion retailer Benetton said it has contributed an additional $1.1 million to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, doubling the sum recommended in an independent assessment of its contribution by PwC.

“This payment of $1.1 million follows a previous payment of $500,000 made through BRAC, before the Rana Plaza Trust Fund was established,” the retailer said in a press release.

According to Benetton, this coincides with a commitment from Benetton to raise working conditions and living standards for workers in the international garment industry.

Benetton is doing so through it’s via several “people first” sustainability initiatives rolling out across its global supply chain.

Benetton will progressively apply the principles of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh to its producers in other global markets.

“We welcome the PwC report and WRAP’s contribution and we decided to go further to demonstrate very clearly how deeply we care,” said Marco Airoldi, CEO of Benetton Group.

“While there is no real redress for the tragic loss of life, we hope that this robust and clear mechanism for calculating compensation could be used more widely,” Airoldi added.

“We believe that by working closely with the right suppliers we can help to improve factory conditions for workers in Bangladesh and in many other parts of the world,” he observed.

Benetton was one of 29 brands connected to companies operating in the Rana Plaza building.

PwC based its report on an assessment from the International Labour Organisation, that $30 million in total compensation should be paid into the Rana Plaza Trust Fund.

PwC calculated Benetton Group’s contribution to be $550,000 based on the level of its commercial association with Rana Plaza.

However PwC has not factored in contributions from other third parties, such as the Bangladesh government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Exporters Association, unions and others.

This means that, if its mechanism were followed by all brands operating at the Rana Plaza, after payments from other third parties the total fund could significantly exceed $30 million.

“Based on Benetton’s commercial association with Rana Plaza, we believe this is a fair basis to calculate payments to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund as quantified by ILO” said Sudhir Singh Dungarpur, partner PwC India.

“With a tragedy of this scale, no compensation can really be enough, but we welcome Benetton’s decision to pay more than its calculated share of the fund,” said Avedis Seferian, CEO of WRAP.

“If everyone took the same approach as Benetton, the overall fund could more than exceed its stated goals,” he noted.

Benetton was one of the first signatories of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, which has improved factory safety in Bangladesh in the wake of the Rana Plaza disaster.

Now, in addition to applying the Accord globally, the company plans to work with its suppliers to raise workers’ living standards. (AR)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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