VF: Holding on to suppliers banned by other apparel makers

After the Rana Plaza disaster in April 2013 (see LPP), over 80 companies worldwide signed the “Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh” [1]. Despite receiving goods from multiple Bangladeshi suppliers, VF still has not signed the accord [2]. VF continues to employ factories that have been banned [3] by other retailers. For example, a Liz Apparels factory in Bangladesh that produces Wrangler shirts for VF was recently eliminated from Wal-Mart and Inditex SA’s supplier lists after their inspectors discovered cracks in the factory’s supporting walls. Both companies immediately severed ties with the factory and requested that a government audit be performed. However, upon being inspected by the VF Corporation, the factory was cleared for “normal operations.”

Similar faults were found in another Bangladeshi Wrangler factory [4], Monde Apparels. Undercover CBS reporters discovered a dangerous lack of fire extinguishers and emergency exits that were blocked by stacks of boxes. They also confirmed that children as young as 12 were employed in the factory using false documentation.

[1] Bangladesh Accord Foundation (2014): Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, 4 February (accessed 04.02.2014)

[2] Katie Smith (2013): Who has signed the Bangladesh safety accord – update, 5 August (accessed 04.09.2013)

[3] Reuter (2013): Banned RMG factory still makes Wrangler shirts, 20 May (accessed 04.09.2013)

[4] Holly Williams (2013): “CBS News goes undercover in a Bangladesh clothing factory”, CBS News, 22 May (accessed 04.09.2013)

Case location
Gazipur, Bangladesh
Bangladesh


Affected topics
  • Human and Labour Rights
Affected norms and standards
Directly and indirectly (through shareholding) involved companies Indirect investors through shareholding

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