Target (NYSE:TGT) has joined a group of U.S. retailers with a plan to improve apparel-factory safety in Bangladesh, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The group, dubbed the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and headed up by Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Gap (NYSE:GPS), is expected to outline its plan at a press conference today (July 10) in Washington, D.C. The plan reportedly includes a $50 million fund to help boost worker safety in Bangladesh, where a series of garment factory fires and collapses has killed more than 1,000 workers this year.
Target and other U.S. chains that contract directly with Bangladesh factories for apparel have resisted joining a separate international effort by large retailers and apparel makers. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh said on Monday (July 8) that 75 major retailers have signed its agreement, including H&M, Aldi, Trader Joe's, Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) and PVH (NYSE:PVH), the parent company of Calvin Klein and Van Heusen. Most U.S. chains have not signed onto it.
The Accord places legally binding requirements on participants for contributions and requires them to reveal the names of the Bangladeshi factories they use. The Walmart-backed Alliance is expected to be voluntary, and has recruited former U.S. senators George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe to work on the factory safety problems.
For its part, Target—the third-largest U.S. retailer—has tried to take a low-key approach to its factory-safety efforts compared with Walmart, which has published lists of Bangladeshi factories that it has banned for safety violations. But Target directly imports 30 percent of its products made overseas at some 3,400 factories, including 169 plants in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Egypt, and Turkey.
- See this Star Tribune story
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