Friday, May 3, 2013

Disney pulls out: Disney pulls production from Bangladesh over workplace safety

Disney pulls out: Disney pulls production from Bangladesh over workplace safety, In response to a number of fatal accidents at factories in Bangladesh, The Walt Disney Company has stopped production of branded merchandise at the overseas South Asian country.

According to a May 2 CNN Money report, Disney sent notices in March to vendors and licensees to transition production out of the "highest-risk countries," like Bangladesh, in order to bolster safety standards in its supply chain.

The video above of the November fire at the Tazreen Fashions Factory in Bangladesh's capital of Dhaka left over 100 people dead. It was the deadliest factory fire in the nation's history.

Three supervisors from the factory were arrested on charges of criminal negligence. They were accused of illegally padlocking doors and exits, as well as supplying “fake” fire-extinguishers for inspection purposes only.

The Dhaka fire is but one of the tragedies that prompted Disney to pull out.

A devastating collapse of a factory building last week in Bangladesh left more than 400 people dead. Another fire in Pakistan killed 262 garment workers last September.

Pakistan, Ecuador, Venezuela and Belarus will all see Disney pull out by 2014. Production will be halted in those countries over similar concerns of workplace safety.

"After much thought and discussion we felt this was the most responsible way to manage the challenges associated with our supply chain," said Bob Chapek, president of Disney Consumer Products.

While Disney is the first brand to completely halt production in Bangladesh after the tragedies, it represents only a tiny portion of what the Fortune 500 company produces.

Less than 1 percent of the factories that Disney sources from are located in Bangladesh and even less than that are from the four other countries, according to Disney spokeswoman Tasia Filippatos.

Disney said it will continue to source from some countries, like Haiti and Cambodia, but only with factories that partner with the Better Work program run by the International Labor Organization and the International Finance Corporation. The group works to control health and safety conditions inside the production plants.

The company will consider permitting production in Bangladesh in the future if factories agree to partner with the Better Work program, according to Disney's Filippatos.

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