"The Alliance is doing important work to ensure the safety of Bangladeshi workers who make clothing worn by millions of Americans and other consumers around the world," said David French, NRF senior vice president for government relations. "We saw first-hand in the past few days that significant progress has been made to improve conditions at factories in Bangladesh and that work is on track to see more improvements in the future."
French spent two days in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka last week as part of a week-long trip that also included factories, warehouses, consolidation centers and ports in Hong Kong, China and Vietnam. In Dhaka, the two met with the U.S. labor attaché, Alliance executives and executives of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association. They also toured factories, including one of the first to complete the Alliance’s audit and compliance program, and visited a laboratory that conducts factory testing.
NRF helped bring together 26 apparel brands to form the Alliance in response to the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Dhaka that killed more than 1,100 people and injured more than 2,500.
The Alliance's annual report shows that as of July more than 500 of the 662 factories used by member companies had received the first of two major safety inspections conducted by the Alliance to create a safer environment for garment workers. The factories had completed between 20 and 80 percent of repairs and six had passed final inspection. The Alliance said it had completed work with the International Finance Corporation to provide $50m in affordable, long-term loans to factory workers and another $18m in assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development for upgrades to factories that might not be eligible for the IFC program.
The report also cited a University of Texas study that found knowledge and awareness on fire safety had improved among the workers after participating in the Alliance training program.
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