17 American retailers promise 42 million dollar for Bangladesh

17 American retailers promise 42 million dollar for Bangladesh

Some time after their European competitors 17 American retailers have made a pact to resolve the unsafe working conditions in the Bengal textile industry, but their plans are met with a lot of criticism.

American “counter-offensive”

Ever since1.100 textile workers lost their lives in April, when the Rana Plaza building collapsed, security has been at the top of the agenda. At least, in Europe it has, where almost all retailers signed an agreement for cleaner clothes and safer working conditions. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh has been signed by 72 big brands and retailers from 15 countries.

 

Retailers in the United States didn’t seem that interested, until seventeen retailers (including GAP, Walmart, JC Penney and Target) decided to create the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. With that initiative they want to amass 42 million euro to make Bengal textile workshops safer, to guide local managers and to inspect the workshops on a yearly basis.

 

Massive criticism

The initiave of the American retailers is getting some criticism though, because it seems to fall way short of the European efforts. First of all there is the amount of money: the Americans promise 42 million dollar across five years, while the Europeans are promising 60 million dollar for that same period.

 

Secondly there are some doubts about the impartialness of the inspectors: the European plan will ensure audits done by independent third parties, while the Americans appoint their own inspectors and they only have a third party check if the workshops have made the proposed improvements.

 

The Americans are also not working together with local unions. “The Alliance has a lot of the features of private regulatory regimes that research has shown over the last 10 years is not very effective”, says Matthew Amengual of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who studies labour regulation and enforcement in developing nations. In the European plan that cooperation with the unions is one of the cornerstones.

 

Critics are mostly disappointed by the fact that “Wal-Mart, Gap and other U.S. retailers have chosen to go their own way with a plan that appears to lack meaningful transparency and accountability” and that “their plan risks diluting the effectiveness of a stronger, global effort to improve worker safety”.

Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact the editors


Small Belgian brewery conquers Brazil thanks to playing cards

13/09/2017

Het Nest, a small brewery from Turnhout, will get its beers brewed in Brazil as well. It has struck a deal with Cervejaria Premium Paulista, which will brew and distribute the beers locally.

Price cuts drive 25 % more customers to Whole Foods

12/09/2017

Supermarket chain Whole Foods welcomed an additional 25 % of customers in the first few days following Amazon’s price cuts.

Ter Beke enters British food service industry

12/09/2017

Belgian food group Ter Beke has acquired a 90 % stake in British competitor KK Fine Foods for an undisclosed fee. The current shareholders hold onto the other 10 %.

Godiva wants to conquer the world through supermarkets

12/09/2017

Belgian praline brand Godiva will soon sell its chocolate in supermarkets all over the world after signing a deal with chains like Albert Heijn and Sainsbury’s. Previously, it sold nearly all its chocolate through its own store network.

Insight: Xavier Piesvaux' seven labours at Delhaize

10/09/2017

Can one French and several Dutch managers do what the Belgian management failed to do these past few years at Delhaize Belgium? Its new CEO will face plenty of challenges: we count at least seven.

Nestlé USA acquires food manufacturer Sweet Earth

08/09/2017

Nestlé USA has acquired American Sweet Earth for an undisclosed fee. The company mainly manufactures meat replacements, a rapidly-growing market, but also several frozen meals.

Back to top