Target’s disclosure today of the locations of its supplier factories in Bangladesh is a crucial step towards better conditions for workers, Oxfam Australia said.
Oxfam Australia’s Corporate Accountability and Fair Trade advisor, Daisy Gardener, said Target now joins a small group of retailers worldwide who are not afraid to share the locations of their supply factories to allow independent scrutiny of conditions for workers.
“Today Target joins Kmart and Woolworths in being open and accountable about exactly where its clothes are made,” Ms Gardener said.
“Oxfam’s 20 years of experience researching the clothing industry has found that low wages, long hours of overtime, violation of trade union rights and unsafe conditions remain the norm in countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia and India.
“Target’s disclosure of Bangladesh supplier factory locations will enable researchers, NGOs and civil society groups to independently check workers’ conditions by speaking to workers on site.
“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.”
In December last year, Pacific Brands (Bonds, Berlei) committed to revealing the locations of Bangladesh supplier factories and The Cotton On Group have said it is considering the move.
This year, Woolworths published its supplier list in Bangladesh and in May Kmart went a step further by publishing locations of suppliers in India, Cambodia and Indonesia with China set to follow.
Kmart and Target were the first Australian companies to sign on 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.
Ms Gardener said disclosing supplier factory locations went further than their obligations under the Accord.
“We urge other Australian retailers to be open about where they source their garments,” she said.
“Consumers are concerned about wages and conditions for the men and women making their clothes. They are going to social media to ask companies to ensure decent wages for workers. Once companies disclose where their factories are, the next big issue to tackle is poverty wages. Workers in Bangladesh are earning around 32 cents an hour – we know this is not enough to adequately look after themselves and their families.”
For interviews, please contact Oxfam Media Coordinator Emma Whalan on 0418 873 782 or firstname.lastname@example.org