Walmart Statement by Jay Jorgensen Regarding the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative

BENTONVILLE, Ark., July 10, 2013 – All workers, no matter where they live, have the right to a safe environment.  Partnership and collaboration are critical to making sure that happens. The Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative is based on a shared commitment among an alliance of brands, retailers and other stakeholders to improve worker safety in Bangladesh.  This alliance will move quickly and decisively to create uniform safety standards.  Those standards will be the basis for factory inspections and training to be conducted by the alliance.  Worker safety is the alliance’s top priority. 

Transparency is key to the success of this effort.  Transparency promotes worker safety by providing everyone with a window into conditions at individual factories.  For that reason, the alliance has committed to sharing information on our safety inspections.  We believe companies and government have a responsibility to ensure that tragedies like those in Bangladesh do not happen again, and that we really can work together to empower government and private parties to act on dangerous safety conditions.  We can also ensure accountability through actions such as requiring that 100 percent of factories be inspected in the first year of the alliance, requiring safety training in 100 percent of these factories, and by regularly reporting on our activities.. 

There are two strong plans created to improve working conditions in factories – the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative that we are announcing today, and the plan created by stakeholders in the EU.  The next step is for all of us to work together, in collaboration with government, factory owners, and NGOs to change increase safety and improve the quality of life of the women and men in our supply chains whom we depend on to make our products.   Our progress against these plans is essential, and we look forward to making progress together. 

--  Jay Jorgensen, SVP & Global Chief Compliance Officer

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