Friday 7 June 2013 - Kmart Australia Limited (Kmart) announced today that it would be a signatory to The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, headed by the two international union bodies IndustriALL and sister union UNI Global Union. This is part of a broad set of initiatives designed to ensure the safety of all factory workers who make Kmart products in Bangladesh.
Kmart Australia managing director Guy Russo has just returned from Bangladesh, having spent the week with his team reviewing factory safety and meeting with key stakeholders.
"We have completed meetings with the Kmart team based in Bangladesh, the Australian High Commission, BGMEA, ITS, SGS, Kmart suppliers, and the ILO. We have also completed fire and building safety audits for all of our factories to ensure we are fully informed and can determine appropriate health, safety and building integrity initiatives for those who work with us in the Bangladesh garment industry," he said.
Along with signing The Accord, Kmart will be implementing the following initiatives:
1. Only factories which meet Kmart's strict standards for safety and social compliance and share Kmart's values will be awarded ongoing business from Kmart. These standards have been enhanced for the elements of fire and building safety and subcontracting
2. Investment will be made in programs with chosen suppliers to develop and embed a safety culture in each of the factories where Kmart products are made
3. Kmart will support the National Tripartite Plan of Action on Fire Safety for the Ready Made Garment Sector in Bangladesh (NAP)
4. Kmart will undertake further in depth investigations of each factory where Kmart products are made to ensure the long term structural integrity of each building
5. A sustainable commitment to Bangladesh and all communities in which Kmart operates, initially through the charity Room to Read
Recent events in Bangladesh have of course been tragic. Many organisations are working hard to put actions in place to improve conditions in factories there. Kmart will work broadly and proactively in the factories where our products are made to ensure identified opportunities are actioned quickly. As new initiatives emerge Kmart will assess their merit and seek to support them when appropriate.
"I am committed to both our team and our suppliers in Bangladesh, who are as passionate as we are, to create safe and productive employment in a country which is so reliant on the garment industry. It is a privilege to be working in this country and my team and I look forward to a long and successful partnership with everyone in Bangladesh," Guy Russo said.
For further media information please contact:
General Manager Kmart Corporate Affairs
Phone: 03 9902 2414 | Mobile: 0419 984 964
(Please note that managing director Kmart – Guy Russo will be unavailable for comment)
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