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16 August 2014 | Gurjit Degun
Retailer Target Australia has been praised for disclosing the locations of its supplier factories in Bangladesh.
Oxfam Australia said it is a “crucial step towards better conditions for workers”. Daisy Gardener, the organisation’s corporate accountability and fair trade advisor, said it will also help researchers, non-government organisations and civil society groups to independently check working conditions.
“Today Target joins Kmart and Woolworths in being open and accountable about exactly where its clothes are made,” said Gardener. “Encouragingly, Target has also committed to progressively release details of factory partners from all sourcing countries by the end of 2015. Without releasing information about supplier locations, there is no way to independently check that decent conditions and basic rights are being upheld within factories.”
Kmart and Target were the first Australian companies to sign up to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord earlier this year, an agreement that mandates independent building inspections, a thorough review of safety standards, and repairs and renovations to unsafe factories. Gardener said disclosing supplier factory locations went further than their obligations under the Accord.
“Once companies disclose where their factories are, the next big issue to tackle is poverty wages,” she added. “Workers in Bangladesh are earning around 32 cents an hour – we know this is not enough to adequately look after themselves and their families.”
Target managing director Stuart Machin said supply chain transparency is key to Target’s commitment to improving working conditions and safety standards in Bangladesh and other sourcing countries. “We have a responsibility to ensure that everyone who works for our business, whether directly or indirectly, is safe in their workplace,” he said. “This is also a key concern for our customers, who want to know that the products they purchase from Target are sourced and produced ethically.”