Wesfarmers to disclose factories


KmartKmart and Target are set to become the first major Australian retailers to fully disclose their Bangladeshi supply lines.

The Wesfarmers-owned discount department stores have been joined in their pledge by Pacific Brands, which owns Bonds.

The move follows a tumultuous year for apparel-based global retail, following the tragic collapse of a Bangladeshi factory in April.

The Rana Plaza disaster claimed more than 1100 lives and implicated international fast fashion brands Primark, Benetton, and Mango.

The event had a global ripple effect and made developing world sweatshop conditions a major news topic for the rest of 2013.

In June, an ABC Four Corners investigation into Australia’s involvement in Bangaldeshi sweatshops turned up the heat on Rivers, Forever New, Coles, Target, and Kmart.

Kmart and Target subsequently signed a prominent legally binding accord into fire safety and working conditions in Bangladesh.

The chains joined major European retailers, including H&M, Calvin Klein, Zara, and Tesco, in signing the agreement.

Cotton On and Forever New later signed the accord, along with Rivers and its new owner, Speciality Fashion Group (SFG).

Gary Perlstein, CEO of SFG, told Inside Retail last month that the group expected no further issues with its supply chain, following the signing of the Bangladeshi accord.

Unwelcome developments 

In October, Kmart, Target, and Woolworths were linked to sourcing fabric from a Bangladeshi factory that caught fire, killing seven people.

The unwelcome news reignited the sweatshop debate after a few months of cooled media exposure.

Kmart then went onto become the first major Australian chain to offer compensation to victims of a compromised supply chain.

Wesfarmers is now promising to publish the locations of both Target and Kmart’s factories in Bangladesh.

Kmart is expected to publish the location of its Bangladeshi factories on Tuesday, with Target to disclose its 45 sites by mid 2014.

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