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9 Jan 2023


Bangladesh: Study finds 90% of high street brands are engaging in 'unfair' purchasing practices

"Fashion brands paid Bangladesh factories less than cost - report", 8 January 2023

Major high street fashion brands have paid factories in Bangladesh less than the cost of producing their clothes, researchers claim.

A survey of 1,000 factories found many were paid the same prices as before the pandemic two years ago - despite soaring costs of materials.

One in five said they struggled to pay Bangladesh's £2.30 a day minimum wage.

Aberdeen University's Business School carried out the research alongside justice charity Transform Trade.

The report looked at the period from March 2020 to December 2021.

It found 90% of larger high street brands buying from four or more factories were reported as engaging in unfair purchasing practices.

These practices included cancellations, failure to pay, delays in payment and discount demands, with knock-on effects including forced overtime and harassment.

Several retailers denied the claims made in the report.

Muhammad Azizul Islam, professor of sustainability accounting and transparency at Aberdeen University, led the project...

He said larger brands buying from many factories were engaging in unfair purchasing practices more frequently than smaller brands, according to suppliers...

The study also found that after the pandemic, factories only employed 75% of the workers they had before, suggesting that up to 900,000 could have lost their jobs...

Fiona Gooch from Transform Trade called the research "a wake-up call".

She told the BBC:..."We need a fashion watchdog to regulate UK garment retailers, along the same lines as the existing supermarket watchdog."

A Fashion Supply Chain parliamentary bill was tabled with cross party support in July last year.

It proposed the establishment of a watchdog to oversee fair purchasing between UK clothing retailers and suppliers around the world.