Garment Items: Walt Disney to source those again from Bangladesh
America's Walt Disney Company is returning to Bangladesh after eight years to source high-end value-added garment items from the country as it improved working conditions and compliance in the garment sector, according to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
"Yes, Walt Disney is coming back to Bangladesh as we have improved our working conditions, workplace safety and compliance. A senior official of the Walt Disney Company has confirmed it to me over the phone Thursday night," BGMEA President Faruque Hassan told The Daily Star yesterday.
Bangladesh saw two major industrial disasters -- Rana Plaza building collapse in April 2013 and Tazreen Fashion fire incident in November 2012. Disney left Bangladesh in 2013, citing poor workplace safety and compliance.
Before leaving Bangladesh, the company used to purchase garment products worth $500million a year. The products included sports items, jerseys, T-shirts, legging and jagging, Faruque said.
Disney later sourced garment items from India, Vietnam and Myanmar, he added.
The Walt Disney Company has considered to include Bangladesh in its Permitted Sourcing Country list with ILS (International Labour Standard) audits, BGMEA said in a statement yesterday.
"The information came from a trusted source and the official notification from Disney is yet to be published," the statement read.
Factories participating in the ILO's Better Work Bangladesh programme will be entitled to become a vendor. They will also need to participate in the Nirapon or RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) along with specific remediation fulfillment criteria.
Over the past years, the Bangladesh garment industry has made unprecedented efforts and investment to ensure safety covering fire, electrical and structural integrity, a robust follow up of factory remediation, to create a culture of safety while promoting wellbeing of the workers, BGMEA said.
The entire safety transformation programme was supported and facilitated by the Bangladesh government, ILO, international brands, manufacturers and the global unions in a transparent manner.
"While we commit ourselves to maintain the social and safety standards, we have aligned with global pledges like reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emission by 30 percent till 2030," Faruque said.
Through these actions and transformation, Bangladesh has well positioned itself as the preferred sourcing partner for conscious brand like Disney, which is committed to fostering safe, inclusive and respectful workplaces in its manufacturing facilities worldwide, he added.