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Maplecroft's latest, briefings, in-depth reports and analysis

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Trigger Briefing - Bangladesh

In light of the labour standards accord created to protect the rights of factory workers in Bangladesh, Maplecroft has produced a trigger briefing analysing the potential implications of the accord in relation to the domestic situation in Bangladesh and the wider regional and global impact. The accord, negotiated under the lead of International Labour Organisation(ILO) trade unions and other lobby groups following the 24 April collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, which killed 1,127 people, is a significant development – given the weak oversight and enforcement capacities of the Bangladesh authorities.

The trigger briefing will analyse how an industry-driven self-regulation may prove to be a more realistic way of achieving internationally recognised labour-force protection and safety standards. It will also consider how extensive the measures are likely to be and how robustly they will be enforced down the production line and various sub-contracting chains. The accord itself indicates a growing awareness and sense of responsibility among retailers that may have a positive impact on the Bangladeshi manufacturing environment. Previous resistance to this type of accord has seemingly been abandoned in response to mounting attention and pressure generated by mass-casualty events.

The trigger briefing will be available immediately.

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Country Risk Report - Bangladesh

Following the collapse of the garment factory in Dhaka, companies may be subject to tightening regulatory supervision and increased scrutiny of working practices within their supply chains and operations in Bangladesh.

In response to the tragedy, Maplecroft has produced a Country Risk Report for Bangladesh looking at the key changes in risk for companies sourcing from Bangladesh in the wake of the publicity surrounding this disaster. Among the issues covered in this report is the lack of political accountability within the garment industry; entrenched corruption; key reputational risks arising from poor labour standards; the lack of government capacity to address labour rights violations; and the lack of labour freedoms accorded to workers in the country.

Garment manufacturers constitute one of the most powerful political lobbies in the country, given that the industry contributes nearly 80% of Bangladesh’s foreign exchange earnings. The owner of the collapsed building, Mohammad Rana, is himself affiliated to the ruling Awami League (AL) party. In light of this, a systemic crack-down on widespread labour rights and safety violations is unlikely in the near term, despite the public outcry.

A majority of the workforce in Bangladesh’s garment industry comprises women, who are particularly vulnerable to rights abuses in the workplace. Further, migrant women workers from rural parts of the country have little access to or knowledge of their legal rights and are often paid below the recommended minimum wages. Labour rights within the garments industry are being increasingly threatened both by the powerful textile lobby and the government. Prominent union leaders face risks to their lives, and threats of intimidation.

Bangladesh has just 18 qualified labour inspectors for monitoring the nearly 5,000 garment factories in the Dhaka area alone. High levels of corruption and political interference in the inspection process will continue to jeopardise the integrity and safety of garment manufacturing operations.

This combination of factors leaves foreign companies sourcing from Bangladesh highly exposed to reputational risks from association with breaches against the rights of workers. Maplecroft’s analysis provides companies with the insights they need to navigate the complex risk environment in Bangladesh and to take steps to mitigate the potential risks.

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Country risk reports, briefings and election monitors are available for all countries and sectors. Register for trial access to see examples.

Press enquiries:

Jason McGeown, Head of Communications
Tel: +44 (0)1225 420000
press@maplecroft.com

To find out more about Maplecroft’s country risk reports, briefings and election monitors
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