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24 Apr 2023

Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

Bangladesh: Best& Less accused of 'putting profits ahead of safety', by failing to sign International Accord

"Best&Less accused of putting profit before Bangladesh workers by failing to sign safety accord", 24 April 2023

...Best&Less has been accused of putting company profit ahead of the safety of Bangladeshi garment workers by declining to sign a key international accord on worker safety and labour rights...

... Best&Less has been singled out by Australian aid groups for its failure to join the agreement, despite sourcing a significant portion of its clothing from Bangladeshi factories.

The company has 20 factories in Bangladesh, accounting for one-quarter of its global sourcing, according to ActionAid...

ActionAid Bangladesh women’s rights manager Tamazer Ahmed said the company had “failed to put the safety of women garment workers ahead of company profit”.

A spokesperson for Best&Less said the company had 11 “partners” in Bangladesh and appreciated the role of the international accord. But it said its own safety code of conduct went further to ensure worker safety in the factories supplying its stores.

“Best&Less undertakes comprehensive factory assessments and audits in every country we work with,” the spokesperson said.

“Best&Less audits are conducted by third parties and they cover each factory’s environmental impact, social practices, ethical practices and safety requirements and certifications, which includes building, chemical and fire safety.”

The spokesperson said the company had no involvement in “the unfortunate Rana Plaza building collapse”.

“Our sourcing code at that time prevented us from working with factories in that area due to the very risks that the accord today works to mitigate,” the spokesperson said...