The firms said there were no plans to switch suppliers © Xinhua
The firms said there were no plans to switch suppliers © Xinhua

Brands investigate Bangladesh factory blast

13 July 2017

Major European buyers of apparel supplied by a Bangladesh garment plant have started investigations after a boiler explosion in the plant killed 13 people and injured dozens.

Firms said they would be supporting Multifabs, where the blast took place, and there were no plans to switch suppliers.

As reported by SM last week, the explosion occurred during maintenance work at the factory, whose top buyers include Finnish fashion chain Lindex, which is part Stockmann, German supermarket Aldi and Rexholm of Denmark.

Stockmann communications manager Anna Bjarland confirmed to SM that the factory supplied garments to both Stockmann and Lindex. 

Bjarland said the company was investigating and was waiting for more information from the Bangladeshi authorities and their local sales office.

In a separate email, Lindex media relation’s officer Eva Jonasson told SM that the company would be working together with their suppliers to improve conditions in the factories to create a safe working environment.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and have a close dialogue with them and provide support in any way we can,” she said. 

“There are no plans to replace Multifabs with another supplier as the circumstances are today.”

Jonasson added that as part of the Stockmann Group, Lindex and Stockmann are members of the industry group Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) and that Multifabs had cleared a BSCI audit in May 2016, valid for two years.

The Multifabs factory hit by the blast produced 100,000 pieces of garment a day, generating around $6m in revenue a month, according to factory and operations director Mesba Faruqui.

An Aldi spokesperson confirmed to SM that Multifabs supplied apparel to its European stores but not Aldi UK and Ireland.

The spokesperson said Aldi had launched an investigation into the factory blast. 

“In the event that an issue is identified affecting an organisation at any stage of our supply chain, we launch an immediate investigation and take action as appropriate,” they said. 

“We require all suppliers and business partners to establish and follow a clear set of standards and procedures—these are defined through Aldi’s social standards in production, which are part of our contractual terms and conditions.”

Multifabs started operating in 1992 and reached $70m in exports in 2016.

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