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28 Okt 2014

Sarah Labowitz, New York Univ. Stern Center for Business & Human Rights, in Guardian (UK)

Inspections are not enough to fix garment factories in Bangladesh

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Inspections are an important first step in making factories and workers safe, but they are not enough. Eighteen months after Rana Plaza, there are two major unanswered questions pertaining to factory safety in Bangladesh: 1) how big is the total universe of factories and facilities producing for the export market, and 2) how will factories actually be fixed?...There is no authoritative figure for the number of factories producing for the export market...While the Accord and the Alliance both have textual commitments to inspect subcontracting facilities, there is little evidence that this is happening in practice. Factories that fall outside these two initiatives are the responsibility of the government, which lacks the capacity to inspect – much less fix – unsafe factories....The second unanswered question is how to fund factory upgrades or relocation. Accord and Alliance inspections have identified thousands of deficiencies in the factories that fall within their inspection programs. But to date, none of the major brands or retailers has made a public commitment to fund the upgrades and repairs that are needed.