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Eversheds comment: Bangladesh multi retailer initiative is the right gesture

  • United Kingdom

    09-07-2013

    Commenting in light of plans announced to improve safety in garment factories in Bangladesh, David Young, health and safety expert at global law firm Eversheds, says:

    "The announcement of a multi-retailer initiative in Bangladesh will be welcomed as the right (if belated) response in terms of the inexact science that is corporate responsibility. What is particularly interesting is the voluntary extension of responsibility by retailers, whose legal duties do not extend this far. Indeed, retailers could argue that it is not for them to address the shortcomings of commercial safety regulation in another jurisdiction. In 2013 though, the power of brands and therefore the importance of reputation is not to be underestimated.

    "If we examine the UK's approach, existing workplace standards are widely considered to be exemplary and influential. This new initiative provides a small dose of optimism that a greater international safety ethic can prevail but it is unlikely to change the landscape fundamentally without a regulatory framework that through enforcement drives cultural change in the approach to workplace safety."

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