Assessing the Effectiveness of Transnational Public and Private Policy Initiatives
Leuven Global Governance series
Edited by Axel Marx, Jan Wouters, Glenn Rayp and Laura Beke
Chapter 12: The ‘Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh’ in response to the Rana Plaza disaster
On 24 April 2013, in the Savar suburb of Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Rana Plaza building complex which housed several garment factories employing over 3,000 workers collapsed, leaving 1,129 dead and over 2,000 injured. The building had seen four floors added without planning permission and was originally built as a shopping complex and office block – not a factory hub housing 3,000 workers and their machines. On the day prior to the collapse, large cracks had appeared in the building and, with the exception of the garment factories, all other parts of the building had been closed that day. After the collapse, it quickly emerged that firms based in the hub comprised a checklist of Western household names in the textile industry, including Benetton, Primark and Walmart. Very quickly and in a way reminiscent of the controversy surrounding Nike’s issues with child labour in its supply chains, public opinion in the developed world became sensitised to what was happening in the supply chains of these brands. While strictly speaking these brands had no legal obligation to take care of their garment workers, pressure grew on these companies to take responsibility for the incident.
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