After a fire at a Bangladesh factory that supplied clothing to Walmart and other stores killed 112 workers in November, Walmart has announced that it is taking its suppliers around the globe to task when it comes to subcontracting their work. In other words, if Walmart doesn’t approve of the factories suppliers use, it’ll drop those companies lickety-split.
Walmart warned suppliers that make goods for the chain, as well as Sam’s Clubs in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom that it will drop them if they subcontract work to factories that aren’t on a list of factories authorized by the company, reports the Associated Press.
This and other changes in company policy are likely the result for calls for Walmart to adopt stricter safety measures so that fires like the one in Bangladesh don’t happen again. That fire was reportedly at a factory that wasn’t authorized to make clothing for Walmart, according to the company.
Walmart alerted its suppliers today in a letter, saying it’s moving forward with “zero tolerance” policy on any shady subcontracting, starting March 1. This is in comparison to a “three strikes, you’re out” policy Walmart used to enforce.
The company says it will also publish a list of factories that aren’t authorized to make goods for it on its corporate site. In addition, any supplier with a factory in a country must have an employee physically present there, who will be in charge of compliance. No third parties are allowed to perform that task.
“We want the right accountability and ownership to be in the hands of the suppliers,” said Rajan Kamalanathan, Wal-Mart’s vice president of ethical sourcing in an interview with The Associated Press. “We are placing our orders in good faith.”
He added that Walmart is also contemplating some kind of fund that would provide money to factories for the sole purpose of improving safety standards, but that’s still in the works.
Wal-Mart Warns Suppliers On Stricter Measures [Associated Press]