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Walmart to inspect Bangladesh factories

May 15, 2013 at 8:22 AM

BENTONVILLE, Ark., May 15 (UPI) -- Global retailer Walmart said it would conduct its own safety inspections of factories in Bangladesh that produce goods for the company.

More than 1,100 people died when a nine-story building for the garment industry collapsed in April in Bangladesh. Walmart said that within the next six months it would inspect all 279 factories in Bangladesh with which it does business.

Vice President of Ethical Sourcing for Walmart Rajan Kamalanathan said the retail giant is committed to a supply chain that puts worker safety first.

"Preventing the kinds of tragedies that have recently taken place in Bangladesh will only happen if all stakeholders across the board set clear parameters and take action to drive real safety and compliance improvements," he said.

The International Labor Organization welcomed the signing by European companies of a fire and building safety accord for Bangladesh. ILO said worker safety requires an industry-wide effort to maintain.

Walmart wasn't a party to the European effort. Western brands have faced criticism for their action of worker safety. Clothing brand Gap Inc. said in a statement Monday that it was a world leader in terms of corporate and social responsibility.

"We take our commitment to improving working conditions in Bangladesh very seriously," it said.

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