October 11, 2013 - Walmart is working every day to improve worker safety in Bangladesh. In fact, we did not have sourcing in the Rana Plaza factory specifically because it did not meet our safety standards. While there are many challenges ahead, we are committed to being part of the solution. In light of recent factory tragedies, this work is more important now than ever. Over the past several months we’ve taken a number of actions related to worker safety, empowerment and transparency, including the following:
- Safety Inspections & Factory Improvement -- We have partnered with Bureau Veritas to conduct in-depth electrical and building safety inspections of all factories sourcing directly to Walmart in Bangladesh. Walmart is paying for these inspections to support our suppliers and the facility owners. We have committed $50 million of low cost capital available to factory owners to help with the necessary remediations. As part of the inspection process a team of two to eight experienced civil and electrical engineers conduct in-depth electrical and building safety reviews of each factory. This process has already begun, and usually takes up to 10 days per facility.
- Worker Safety Training -- As part of both our partnership with Bureau Veritas, and a donation we have made to the Institute of Sustainable Communities to establish The Environmental Health and Safety Academy, we are providing important worker safety training to workers and factory owners in Bangladesh.
- Transparency -- We are also driving increased transparency in our supply chain through our commitment to post the results of our in-depth electrical and building safety inspections publicly on our corporate websit
- Unauthorized Subcontracting -- We have implemented a zero-tolerance policy for unauthorized subcontracting. This includes any undisclosed subcontracting conducted with or without the supplier’s knowledge.
- Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety -- We are working with more than 20 brands and retailers to develop common fire and building safety standards as part of our work with the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
In addition to these enhancements to our program, Walmart has implemented a number of programs over the past several years to support local suppliers and workers including:
- Through Walmart’s British-based Asda banner, we have been improving the jobs for more than 17,000 workers in 34 factories in Bangladesh through our Lean Manufacturing program. Through this program workers are able to become more empowered through job skills and factory efficiency training.
- In 2013, we launched a program aimed at empowering the women who work in Walmart’s supply chain factories through the company’s Women in Factories program. This program is teaching 60,000 women critical life skills including conflict resolution, communications, skills, personal health and wellness.
- For many years we have been working with our supplier partners and their factories to help them develop the capability to improve working conditions by investing in education, training and operational efficiencies through our Supply Chain Capacity building programs including the Supplier Development Program, Violation Correction Training, Orange School Program and Supplier Round Tables.
You can also find more information about our ethical sourcing efforts on our corporate website at http://corporate.walmart.com/global-responsibility/ethical-sourcing