UN chief warns businesses over supply chains

9 May 2013

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9 May 2013 | Andy Allen

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon has called on companies to take responsibility for their supply chains in the wake of the Bangladeshi garment factory collapse which killed hundreds of workers.

“It is time for all companies to police their supply chains, not distance themselves from them,” he said. “Too many businesses are still willing to sacrifice workers’ rights and safety for the bottom line.”

Ban praised the role of the UN's Global Compact in promoting safe and sustainable employment.

“Many have embraced the principles advocated by the Global Compact, and the number is growing. The challenge now is to nurture the movement for corporate sustainability,” he said.

More than 7,000 companies in some 140 countries have signed the compact. By doing so they agree to embrace a set of 10 principles in areas such as human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption.

“Consumers, too, need to be educated about the social and environmental impact of the products they buy,” Ban added.

In April, the UN Global Compact launched a worldwide call for the private sector to take a stand against corruption, urge governments to promote anti-corruption measures and to establish systems of good governance.

The death toll at the Rana Plaza building, which collapsed in Savar outside Dhaka on April 24 now stands at more than 700.

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