Walt Disney, a famous American company, will again buy ready-made clothes from Bangladesh. After the collapse of Rana Plaza in 2013, this US company stopped buying clothes from Bangladesh. The world-renowned brand has decided to buy new products as the country’s garment sector has achieved enviable success in various indices.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said in a statement on Friday (July 2nd).
BGMEA President Farooq Hassan welcomed the move by Walt Disney, acknowledging the achievements of the garment industry in terms of overall progress and transformation, especially in the areas of workplace safety, social standards and environmental sustainability. This information has been informed in a press release of BGMEA. However, no official announcement has been made by Walt Disney yet.
According to a BGMEA press release, Walt Disney has stopped purchasing products in Bangladesh since the 2013 fire and building collapse. Considering the international labor quality audit, the company has considered including Bangladesh again in its list of approved sourcing countries.
“I have been confirmed by senior Walt Disney officials,” said Farooq Hassan. The return of Walt Disney is good news for our apparel industry. Because, recently they used to import a lot of clothes from India. Also started business with Myanmar. As a result, we hope that our entrepreneurs will also receive significant purchases from Walt Disney soon. ‘
BGMEA leaders said the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Better Work Program, Nirapan, which monitors garment factories, and factories under the RMG Sustainable Council (RSC) will receive Walt Disney purchases.
More than a thousand garment workers were killed in the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013. After this incident, the quality of Bangladesh’s garment factories was widely criticized at home and abroad. Many foreign organizations called for a boycott of Bangladeshi clothing. At such a time Walt Disney decided not to buy clothes from Bangladesh. Later, however, due to domestic and foreign initiatives, a lot of work was done to improve the working environment of Bangladesh Garment Factory. Although the work has not been completed yet, the renovation work of the compliant factories working under the world famous brand has been completed.
Faruque said that, Walt Disney, stopped its production activities in Bangladeshi factories in May 2013 following the fire at Tazreen Fashion in November 2012 that killed 112 RMG workers, and later, the Rana Plaza Building collapse which killed more than 1,100 people, mostly readymade garment workers.
Then the Walt Disney Company sent a letter in March 2013 to vendors and licensees to transition production in Bangladesh in order to reinforce safety standards in its supply chain and around $500 million worth of business was shifted to Vietnam, India, and Myanmar from Bangladesh.
Now, it has announced to reinstate Bangladesh as a permitted sourcing country list with ILS (International Labor Standard) audits. It is the recognition of the all-out progress and transformation in the industry, particularly in the area of workplace safety, social standards, and environmental sustainability, Faruque mentioned.
The Hong Kong-based supply chain compliance solutions provider “QIMA” ranked Bangladesh as the 2nd highest Ethical Manufacturing country in its recent report “QIMA Q1 2021 Barometer”. The rating included a performance against parameters like hygiene, health and safety, child and young labor, labor practices including forced labour, worker representation, disciplinary practices and discrimination, working hours and wages, and waste management.
Before 2013, Walt Disney used to buy clothes worth ৫০ 500 million or Tk 4,000 crore a year from Bangladesh.
Founded in 1966, Walt Disney now has more than 300 outlets. The company sells men’s and women’s as well as children’s clothing. In addition, Disney is popular for selling a variety of products, including children’s toys.