North American retailers’ team due todayStaff Correspondent
A 12-member delegation of the North American Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative will arrive in Dhaka today to discuss in details its five-year action plan to ensure safety standards at the Bangladeshi readymade garment factories.
During the three-day visit, the delegation headed by its chair Ellen O’ Kane Tauscher will hold separate meetings with high officials of foreign, labour and commerce ministries and the garment sector leaders.
The delegation also includes Wesley Wilson, senior director for ethical sourcing of Walmart, Jan Saumweber, senior vice-president of global Walmart team, Ignacio Lopez, vice-president (global sourcing) of Walmart, Bobbi Silten, alliance board member and president of Gap Foundation, Daniel Duty, alliance board member and vice-president (global affairs) of Target, Rick Darling, vice-chairman of Li & Fung, Ian Spaulding, senior partner of ELEVATE, Jeff Krilla, executive director of Alliance, James Moriarty, Alliance board member, Randy Tucker, Alliance board member and fire and safety consultant, Urmila Venugopalan of Albright Stonebridge Group, Rumee Ali, Alliance board member and managing director of BRAC, Atiqul Islam, president of BGMEA, and Humayun Kabir, former ambassador and a representative of Bower Group.
Rumee, Atiqul and Humayun will join the delegation in Bangladesh.
Alliance, the US-based clothing brands and retailers consortium, will hold its board meeting at Hotel Radisson in the city at 10:00am today, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association officials said.
The delegation will meet with the labour, commerce and foreign secretaries at 12:30pm at Meghna, the state guest house.
The Alliance delegation will also hold meetings with the BGMEA leaders and the American ambassador on September 16 and 17 respectively, sources said.
In the meetings, the participants will discuss fire and building safety and take decisions to set parameter, action plans, and a common code of conduct to be used for inspection, a labour ministry official said.
The consortium of North American buyers recently said that Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative would provide rapid implementation, worker empowerment and a long-term commitment to sustainable change.
The Initiative represents a significant financial commitment, including an initial worker safety fund, currently $42 million, and the additional availability of over $100 million in access to low-cost capital funding to improve fire and structural safety in Bangladeshi factories, the alliance had announced.
After the Rana Plaza disaster killed 1,131 workers, 17 North American retailers, including Walmart and Gap, on July 10 formed the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative undertaking a five-year plan.
Now the number of signatories has reached 20, which sets aggressive timelines and accountability for inspections, training and worker empowerment.
In the overview of the action plan, the Alliance said that this effort was focused on identifying the most achievable means for North American retailers and brands to work with the government and the stakeholders to help ensure the safety of Bangladeshi workers.
The result is a legally binding commitment among founding Alliance members who collectively represent the overwhelming majority of US imports of RMG from Bangladesh, produced at more than 500 factories.
The Alliance has already chalked out a common safety standard for the factories and it will be further discussed with the Bangladesh officials in the next three days.
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A 12-member delegation of the North American Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative will arrive in Dhaka today to discuss in details its five-year action plan to ensure safety standards at the Bangladeshi readymade garment factories. Full story
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