May 14 Wal-Mart said on Tuesday it does not plan
to sign a Bangladesh fire and building safety accord drawn up by
labor groups because it believes its current safety plans will
get faster results.
The legally-binding agreement, drafted by labor and
non-governmental organizations Europe's IndustriALL and UNI
Global Union, has a May 15 deadline for retailers to sign on.
Many North American retailers are discussing whether to
forge their own Bangladesh safety agreement as an
"The company, like a number of other retailers, is not in a
position to sign the IndustriALL accord at this time," Wal-Mart
said in a statement.
"While we agree with much of the proposal, the IndustriALL
plan also introduces requirements, including governance and
dispute resolution mechanisms, on supply chain matters that are
appropriately left to retailers, suppliers and government, and
are unnecessary to achieve fire and safety goals," Wal-Mart
Earlier on Tuesday Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer,
said it would conduct in-depth safety inspections at all 279
Bangladesh factories with which it works and publicly release
the names and inspection information, as pressure mounts on
retailers to ensure worker safety after April's deadly building
Wal-Mart said it would also have Bureau Veritas provide fire
safety training for every worker in every factory in Bangladesh
that produces its goods. Bureau Veritas is a European testing
and inspection company that, on behalf of Wal-Mart, assesses
factories and trains workers in Bangladesh.
Wal-Mart began more rigorous inspections earlier this year
after more than 110 people were killed in a November 2012 fire
in a factory that was producing goods for Wal-Mart and other
Wal-Mart said the inspections would be completed in the next
six months and that it would begin posting inspection results on
"Transparency is vital to make progress in improving factory
conditions, and by disclosing this information, government,
workers, non-governmental agencies, and companies can benefit
from this work," Rajan Kamalanathan, Wal-Mart's vice president
of ethical sourcing, said in a statement.