Giant retailer Walmart announced Tuesday that it would conduct in-depth safety inspections of all 279 of its Bangladesh suppliers, in the wake of the building collapse that killed more than 1,100 people.
The US retailer said it would release publicly the names and inspection information on each of the factories, and meanwhile also issued a list of more than 200 factories that are blacklisted for failing to meet its standards for suppliers.
“The company will immediately order its production stopped at facilities where urgent safety issues are identified, notify the factory owner and government authorities of the need to take action, and require remediation,” Walmart said in a statement.
“As a result, workers in these facilities can be assured of safer working conditions, and the entire market will be lifted to a new standard.”
The company did not say however if it would join a protocol agreed by a number of other major buyers of clothes made in Bangladesh, the “Accord on Fire and Building Safety” endorsed by Benetton, Mango, Marks & Spencer, Inditex and H&M.
The action comes in the wake of the April 24 collapse of a nine-story building outside Dhaka housing multiple garment factories, including some which reportedly supplied Walmart, killing 1,127 in the worst disaster ever in the global textile industry.
In November 111 workers were killed in a fire at a garment factory in Bangladesh that also supplied Walmart, among other global names in the clothing industry.
Walmart said it was hiring global inspections group Bureau Veritas to conduct fire-safety training for all workers in its Bangladesh suppliers.
It will also contract Labor Voices, a company that works with workers to understand their issues, to help Walmart maintain its factory standards.
“Walmart is committed to a global supply chain that first and foremost provides safe conditions for workers,” said Rajan Kamalanathan, vice president of ethical sourcing for Walmart.