Increasing Transparency in the Supply Chain
We recognize that no single organization or company can bring lasting change to the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh. True reform requires multiple stakeholders, including governments, to work together for change. We believe that transparency helps all stakeholders understand and address factory conditions.
As part of this commitment, Bureau Veritas, a third-party firm, conducted in-depth electrical and structural safety assessments at Bangladesh factories that produce ready-made garments directly for Walmart. The results show factories have made substantial improvement over the past year, with electrical ratings climbing by more than 80 percent and building safety improvements by more than 60 percent. Walmart was the first company to publically share our initial factory safety assessments results; We have now completed all phases of assessments and have posted the results of our enhanced safety assessments in order to provide information to partners committed to real change.
Factories are in the midst of the critically-important stage of remediation for building, electrical and fire safety. When factories are closed for remediation, the Alliance and factory owners are together providing full pay for up to four (4) months.
There are several areas of major remediation that have taken place at many factories in Bangladesh, including upgrading of electrical systems, installation or upgrading fire hydrant system, installation of fire doors, construction of additional staircases and installing alarm systems.
Walmart has also announced that we will provide support for up to $50 million in access to capital to factories in Bangladesh, including a loan facility that we developed in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank. We are excited to have this mechanism in place, and we look forward to receiving the loan requests to help improve factory conditions.
In addition to the loan capital, we also have launched a number of programs to support local suppliers and workers, including supporting fire safety training for factories through a $1.6 million contribution to the newly created Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) Academy.
We continue to work with stakeholders and factories to raise standards in the supply chain in Bangladesh. We continue to positively influence the global supply chain, by collaborating with other brands, retailers and stakeholders to improve the working conditions in the countries from which we source.
One important component of The Alliance is the public release of building, fire and electrical inspection reports as well as periodic updates to corrective action plans for factories in the ready-made garment sector in Bangladesh. This level of transparency also supports the Bangladesh Government Commitment - in the National Action Plan - to release the inspection data of factories throughout Bangladesh.The Alliance is committed to having all inspection reports posted on the Alliance website and the Government of Bangladesh website, and helping ensure they undergo a rigorous quality control process before they are released. The Alliance is working actively with each factory as well as the Government of Bangladesh to release reports as quickly as possible. Released inspection reports and corrective action plans can be viewed on the Alliance website
Alliance for Bangldesh Worker Safety
Walmart is a founding member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (Alliance), currently comprised of 26 retailers and suppliers, which works to help improve building, fire and electrical safety throughout Bangladesh. Over the past year, the Alliance has:
- Trained more than 1 million factory employees on basic fire safety
- Piloted a helpline where workers can anonymously report safety or other job-related concerns
- Provided, together with factory owners, wages for approximately 1,000 displaced workers
- Created a Board labor Committee to focus exclusively on labor issues impacting workers’ lives.