Thursday, May 16, 2013

WSJ: Wal-Mart Crafts Own Bangladesh Safety Plan


Banjo, S., Zimmerman, A., & Kapner, S (May 15, 2013)Wall Street Journal, p. B1.

[Excerpted] Wal-Mart Stores Inc. broke with major European retailers on Tuesday by announcing its own plan for improving safety at Bangladesh garment factories....

The proliferation of competing proposals may undermine their effectiveness, some experts said, and voluntary efforts have a poor track record. "Without a legally binding contract that the European retailers have signed, it's just putting lipstick on a pig," said Bob Ross, a critic of sweatshops who teaches sociology at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

Some U.S. retailers are uncomfortable with the accord because they could be liable in US courts if they fail to adhere to the provisions....[end]

Majia Here: More than 1000 people died in the most recent horrific factory disaster in Bangladesh.

This is the second recent major accident in Bangladeshi textiles.

Why won't Wal-Mart sign on to The Bangladesh Safety Accord if it is truly committed to eliminating these terrible work conditions?

Apparently, American retailers find the Accord to be "too binding." Here is what Wal-Mart had to say about it: 

S. Bernfield (May 15, 2013) Bangladesh Safety Accord Is Too Binding for American Retailers http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-05-15/bangladesh-safety-accord-is-too-binding-for-american-retailers


[Excerpted] Wal-Mart (WMT) said yesterday (PDF): “While we agree with much of the proposal, the IndustriALL plan also introduces requirements, including governance and dispute resolution mechanisms, on supply chain matters that are appropriately left to retailers, suppliers, and government.” [end]

Majia here: I wonder how Wal-Mart and Sears executives would feel about "too binding accords" if it were their sisters and mothers and sons who were suffocated and squashed by a factory collapse?

"Shame on you" all American retailers who don't do everything possible to improve worker rights and work conditions for the people in poor nations making your products.

Here's a list of retailers that have and haven't signed on to the Accord here

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