21 March 2015
Bangladesh foreign minister asks global brands to fulfill their responsibility
At a High-Level Conference in Dhaka, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister asked global brands and retailers to fulfil their ‘responsibility’ to ensure acceptable work standards in factories.
‘Ensuring decent work worldwide is about shared responsibility – for shared prosperity. It is about equity and fairness,’ Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali said, stating that countries such as Bangladesh were in a situation in which the ‘buyers take it all’. ‘The current model of global supply chain has to look more deeply at sustainability and equity considerations,’ he said and stressed that global markets need to adapt and take into account the ‘circumstances, concerns and challenges’ at the manufacturing end.
The meeting was organised by the Danish government on ‘RMG Industry and Beyond: framing the future’ two years after the Rana Plaza building collapse which killed 1100 people. Mogens Jensen, visiting Danish Minister for Trade and Development, highlighted issues that remain to be resolved such as ‘addressing inequality, inclusive and sustainable growth, decent work, and inclusive industrialization’.
Mr. Jensen made several proposals to ensure sustainable businesses; ‘supply chains must deliver on transparency, accountability, and ethics equitably … we cannot afford to fail on securing global justice, peace and stability through global business’. Jensen reiterated the need for responsibility and for stakeholders to ‘deliver of their roles, responsibilities and commitments’ particularly under the ‘Responsible Business Conduct’. ‘As norms, practices, or guidelines are considered … they should be geared towards creating a truly level-playing field’. The Minister acknowledged progresses had been made since the Rana Plaza disaster, but said more needed to be done for factory safety and workers’ rights.