Dusseldorf / Brussels, 6 December 2012. This weekend Phil Chamberlain, C&A's Head of Sustainable Business Development, returned from Bangladesh after three days of investigation into the Tazreen fire. His investigation was based on contact with representatives from the management of Tazreen Fashion, the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association), local authorities and NGO's.
“We will work with the BGMEA in order to determine the needs of the families impacted. As an immediate action though, C&A and the C&A Foundation will work with Caritas1 and other local organisations and sponsor housing and education for children who have lost parents in the fire. In this way, C&A commits to maintaining an on-going solidarity with the families of the victims”, commented Phil Chamberlain.
Chamberlain further stated: "Our audit process has been strengthened with immediate effect. It is now compulsory that not only the initial Safety and Quality Assurance audit, but now also the more in depth SOCAM2 audit, precede the placing of any orders with suppliers in Bangladesh. A similar process will be rolled out globally." SOCAM audits will be conducted December.
In a process initiated one month ago, C&A has embarked upon a program of independent fire prevention audits of its Bangladesh supplier base. This program will be accelerated. We will insist on remedial action and working with local stakeholders, provide targeted funds to help finance retrofitting of appropriate safety standards. Ultimately, business shall be discontinued with suppliers who are not willing to conform to appropriate safety standards.
For the concrete measures above, C&A foresees an amount of five million Euros.
As regards the longer term, Jeff Macho, European Executive Board Member for C&A Sourcing, stated: "We are a people-centred and values-driven group and we are devastated about the loss of life at Tazreen. Improving safety and working conditions in supply chains is a key goal, but this tragedy makes it clear change is not happening fast enough. We have to do things differently.
We must start with ourselves: We had already begun to review our entire supply chain to ensure all participants are aligned, based on shared values, along with a commitment to the well-being of employees and compliance.
We will increase and accelerate our own efforts, but we recognize that one company cannot solve industry-wide issues alone. We will therefore continue to work with other like-minded retailers, supply partners and governmental and non-governmental organizations to advance fundamental positive change in supply chains that both C&A and our customers can be truly proud of.”
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