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Continued: Target, other retailers pledge $140 million for worker safety in Bangladesh

  • Article by: THOMAS LEE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 10, 2013 - 11:51 PM

The alliance is a good first step for the industry to collectively address the problems associated with outsourcing labor to low wage Third World countries, said Amy Koo, an analyst with the Kantar Retail consulting firm in Boston.

Before the alliance, each retailer had its own system to monitor its supply chain. For the first time, retailers are setting standards and an inspection regimen they could eventually apply to countries beyond Bangladesh, she said.

The industry could also eventually address other significant labor issues like wages. Instead of worrying how competitors could undercut them on manufacturing costs, retailers could set common standards on how much to pay workers, Koo said.

But first, the alliance needs to prove it can effectively improve worker safety, analysts say.

Success will depend on “how much enforcement, how much follow-through there will be,” Koo said. “Are they really looking to solve the problem or are they looking to make themselves look good?”

Thomas Lee • 612-673-4113

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