Bangladesh fire and safety: Walmart states its case
Earlier today, Walmart announced that it will conduct in-depth safety inspections at 100 percent of the factories in Bangladesh that produce goods for the retailer, require remediation as necessary, and increase transparency by making the results available to the public. This plan will help set a new standard for the safety of factories, the quality of safety inspections, and transparency in Bangladesh.
Walmart has participated with other stakeholders in discussing group efforts to improve working conditions in Bangladesh. The company, like a number of other retailers, is not in a position to sign the IndustriALL accord at this time. 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, and are unnecessary to achieve fire and safety goals.
- Walmart believes its safety plan meets or exceeds the IndustriALL proposal, and will get results more quickly. For example:
- Walmart committed to rigorous inspections of 100 percent of factories that supply private label or goods directly to the company within six months. The IndustriALL proposal commits to inspecting 65 percent of each participating company’s sourcing volume.
- Walmart will immediately release results of fire, safety and electrical inspections where worker safety is in jeopardy. The IndustriALL proposal makes inspection reports available to the public after as many as six weeks.
- Walmart believes the issue of worker safety requires urgent attention, and has already begun a new, intensive safety inspection program and will have inspected, at its own cost, all 279 factories in its private label and direct supply chain within six months. The IndustriALL proposal provides 45 days to develop a plan.
Since the IndustriALL accord affords a 45-day discussion period, Walmart looks forward to participating in the continued discussion. If the issues with the accord could be addressed, Walmart would be pleased to join the effort.
Our Standards for Suppliers set forth Walmart’s fundamental expectations of our suppliers and their factories on the treatment of workers and impact on the environment. The Standards also provide the framework for audits that measure how well suppliers are meeting our expectations. Unauthorized subcontracting thwarts our ability to enforce our Standards; and therefore, we have a zero tolerance policy regarding undisclosed subcontracting. We ask suppliers to familiarize themselves with the Standards and ensure that their factories are aware as well.
Walmart is committed to safety in our supply chain worldwide. We also recognize the need for heightened attention to the unique safety problem in Bangladesh. We expect firm commitments from our suppliers to meet strict safety standards, to be open to rigorous audits and to put the welfare of employees first.
In addition to the regular audits that Walmart conducts under our ethical sourcing program, the company recently announced that we will conduct more in-depth inspections in Bangladesh relating to electrical, fire and building safety. These facility audits are conducted by accredited and internationally recognized auditing firms and are based upon the obligation in our Standards to provide workers with a safe and healthy work environment.
Walmart ethical sourcing audits result in a factory rating based on the type of issues found. A factory that has been assessed as “red-failed/unauthorized” is one in which our independent audits have found serious or repeated violations of our Standards. As discussed in our Standards for Suppliers, these violations could relate to safety issues, social issues, unauthorized subcontracting or other requirements established by our Standards for Suppliers.
Unauthorized factories are not permitted to produce merchandise for Walmart. Walmart has committed to increased transparency in our supply chain. Transparency helps all stakeholders to improve worker standards.
Walmart offers a list of unauthorized factories to provide greater transparency and assurances to our customers, associates, and other stakeholders regarding the proactive steps we are taking to source products in a responsible manner.
This list reflects Walmart’s independent conclusions that these factories failed to meet our Standards for Suppliers and is based on audits conducted by Walmart or its accredited auditing firms. Our Ethical Sourcing team is open to discussing our Standards for Suppliers and our compliance criteria with interested parties. However, we do not discuss the specific factual findings that resulted in any particular factory being placed on this list with any third parties other than applicable factory owners or government authorities. We are not seeking to influence the business decisions of any other party and are not asking others to agree with our conclusions.
If you believe the presence of a factory on this list is incorrect, please send an email to ESBangladesh@Walmart.com with the following information: Name of factory, Factory ID number, date of last audit, explanation of why factory should not be on list and contact information to discuss the matter.
List is available in PDF format at http://az204679.vo.msecnd.net/media/documents/factory-list-unapproved-bangladesh-updated-6-3-13_130148279186724526.pdf