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Gap Inc to execute fire safety program in Bangladesh

03
Oct '12
Gap Inc announced a significant initiative to improve building and fire safety standards across the company’s approved third-party garment manufacturing factories in Bangladesh.  Underscoring the tangible steps taken in the country over the last two years—including humanitarian aid, fire safety training and education, and fire safety audits—Gap Inc.’s program is a critical step forward to address fire and building safety issues in Bangladesh’s apparel industry.  

As part of its approach, Gap Inc. will implement a four-part initiative.  The company will:

• Engage a Chief Fire Safety Inspector to conduct fire safety inspections with formal remediation plans and accountability
• Launch a Worker Support Program, providing up to US$2 million to ensure that factory employees at Gap Inc.’s long-standing, high-volume third-party apparel manufacturers who are displaced from work because of fire safety remediation receive payment for work days missed
• Provide vendors accelerated access of up to US$20 million in capital for safety improvements
• Continue to engage with the Bangladesh government, U.S. government and the International Labor Organization (ILO) to promote comprehensive change
 
The announcement comes after the company engaged in months of constructive dialogue with international labor organizations, Bangladeshi vendors, and other engaged stakeholders in an attempt to find an acceptable framework for an industry-wide solution on improving fire safety.    
 
“Gap Inc. is deeply committed to Bangladesh.  We share the same goal with other stakeholders to make tangible change as quickly as possible,” said Bobbi Silten, Senior Vice President of Global Responsibility for Gap Inc.   “We believe the time has come to take action, and hope others in our industry will step forward with similar plans that will significantly improve fire safety in the apparel factories in Bangladesh.” 
 
“Gap Inc. has a proven and long-standing commitment to workers’ rights and safety,” said Colin Funnell, Gap Inc. Executive Vice President of Global Supply Chain.  “Our company is determined to see that the people working at various points along our supply chain are treated with fairness, dignity and respect.”   
 
The cornerstone of Gap Inc.’s plan centers on fire safety inspections by a qualified and independent inspector.  Gap Inc. will appoint a Chief Fire Safety Inspector who will oversee fire and building safety inspections of garment factories producing for our brands in Bangladesh.  This fire safety inspection will be based on national laws, internationally recognized workplace safety standards, and existing best practices in Bangladesh.
 
After the inspection, the Chief Fire Safety Inspector will then outline remediation steps with a specific action plan and regular check-ins to help ensure that these facilities are in full compliance with building, fire and electrical safety standards.


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