What is VF’s commitment to ensuring worker safety in Bangladesh and around the world?
VF is deeply committed to ensuring that all individuals are treated with integrity, honesty, respect and dignity. And for us, the fair treatment and safety of our associates and those making our products around the world is more than a priority…it’s an imperative.
In recent years, several tragic events at garment factories around the world have underscored the need for the global apparel industry to place an even greater emphasis on ensuring safe working conditions, particularly in Bangladesh. As a founding member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and through our own independent efforts such as our Responsible Sourcing program, VF is taking action every day to improve the working conditions in factories where we make or source our products, demonstrating our long-term global commitment to worker safety.
What are the challenges in addressing safe working conditions in Bangladesh?
While notable progress has been made in Bangladesh, several challenges remain. Uneven government capacity, unauthorized subcontracting, limited presence and acceptance of trade unions, and a lack of modern safety equipment cannot be tolerated and must continue to be addressed to achieve sustainable change. VF is working in various ways to address these challenges.
Why did VF join the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety (the Alliance) instead of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety (the Accord)?
VF joined the Alliance because the organization shares our steadfast commitment to worker safety and because many of the Alliance members are our customers, companies with whom we work every day. We are accustomed to working together on matters related to global supply chains. Joining the Alliance, which consists mostly of U.S. companies, instead of the largely European corporate membership of the Accord was a logical choice for us.
Is the Alliance legally binding?
Yes. The Alliance is a five-year, legally binding $50 million commitment to improve the safety of workers in Bangladesh.
Since it was formed, what measurable progress has the Alliance made to protect workers in Bangladesh?
The Alliance’s significant and demonstrable results in improving the situation in Bangladesh to date include, but are not limited to the following:
Completing comprehensive inspections of, developing Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) for and completing initial remediation verification visits (RVVs) at 100% of Alliance factories;
Completing second and/or third RVVs to verify continued progress on required repairs at one-third of Alliance factories;
Successfully recommending the full closure of nine factories, the partial or temporary closure of 20 factories, and the requirement that two factories operate with reduced load;
Expanding access to the Alliance confidential helpline—Amader Kotha, or Our Voice—tomore than 640,000 workers in 528 factories;
Providing 1.2 million workers in 100% of Alliance factories with the Alliance Basic Fire Training program, and launching a second, ongoing refresher training that, to date, has been rolled out to 27% offactories and their employees;
Providing 21,000 security guards at 100% of Alliance factories with training in fire-hazard identification, safety leadership and evacuation procedures;
Making $100 million in low-cost loans available to aid factory owners in completing necessary repairs;
Launching financing facilities in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to offer an additional $58 million in factory repair financing; and,
Providing wage compensation to 6,117 workers displaced by factory repairs.
Does VF produce or source JanSport® brand products in Bangladesh?
No. VF does not – nor has it ever – produced or sourced JanSport® brand product in Bangladesh.
Did VF source product at the Rana Plaza factory that collapsed in April 2013?
No. There were no VF brands sourcing product at Rana Plaza at the time of the April 2013 factory collapse. However, VF did contribute $400,000 to the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund to support victims and their families.
Which type of products does VF produce in Bangladesh?
VF sources items such as bottoms, tops and shoes in Bangladesh.
How many factories does VF use in Bangladesh, and how many people are employed by those factories?
VF contracts with approximately 90 factories in Bangladesh. These factories employ approximately 190,000 workers. VF does not own any factories in Bangladesh.
How much of VF’s product is produced in Bangladesh?
Approximately 12 percent of VF’s global production volume is sourced in Bangladesh. VF proudly manufacturers about 40 percent of our apparel in the Americas, compared to an average of 13-16 percent for the apparel industry.