Certification and Markets: An Newsletter (February 2013)

Feb 2013

Bangladesh Factory Fire Focuses Attention on Worker Safety

In the aftermath of the lethal textile mill fire to hit a factory in Bangladesh in November 2012, international retail and clothing brands are re-examining their suppliers and supply chain management processes.  A New York Times article   provided graphic reporting of basic lapses in safety procedures and possibly negligence resulting in more than 100 fatalities.  The same article linked the factory with supplying well-known brands such as Disney and Walmart and noted “Wal-Mart said it received a safety audit that showed the factory was "high-risk" and had decided well before the blaze to stop doing business with Tazreen. But it said a supplier had continued to use Tazreen without authorization.”

Sustainability and Supply Chain News from Walmart

US retailing giant Walmart buys approximately 30% of China’s exports to North America.  Hence its policies on corporate responsibility in the supply chain are closely monitored by governments and emerging market business alike.  It has long had what it calls an “ethical sourcing” policy in place and makes use of a range of internal-Walmart standards, global voluntary standards and supply chain auditing and outreach processes to implement its policy.   In the wake of a November 2012 factory fire in Bangladesh which killed more than one hundred workers, a report in Ecotextile News indicates the company has warned its supply chain to control their own suppliers in a “zero tolerance” policy for health and safety and other infractions. 

And MSC News from McDonalds

McDonalds  is the world’s largest restaurant chain and through its fish items is also one of the leading buyers of fishery related products world-wide.  The Marine Stewardship Council, the world’s leading sustainability standard for fish and fisheries reported that McDonalds introduced the MSC label to the over 100 million “Filet-O-Fish” burgers it services across Europe each year.  In February 2013, MSC reported that McDonalds will expand the program into its US restaurants, one of the first mega-chains to do so.  It is likely that this will give a huge boost to the public awareness of the MSC logo, placing it in front of millions of US consumers daily.

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