When the fifth estate asked for an interview with Loblaw Chairman Galen Weston and Joe Fresh President Joseph Mimran, we were turned down.
Instead, the company sent the following statement outlining the commitments the company has made in Bangladesh since the Rana Plaza tragedy :
We've been working diligently on a comprehensive relief program and we are determined to deliver support in the best way possible.
We are, however, still working through challenges to make this happen, but we want to assure you that we are already active funding two community based charities in Bangladesh.
- The Loblaw REVIVE Project, in association with the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed, assists and supports victims and their families as they reintegrate back into their community. The program provides medical care, physical therapy, mobility aids and vocational training, in addition to loss of income support during the treatment and rehabilitation phase.
- The Loblaw Thrive Project, in partnership with Save the Children, aims to address critical health, peer counseling, education, and child protection needs in and around the affected area of the factory collapse.
To date, Loblaw has committed $1 million towards these two charities for these Thrive and REVIVE projects. Let me know if you'd like me to put you in touch with representatives from these charities, I'd be happy to.
Direct Compensation: Additionally to the funds above, we are close to being able to flow funds for direct financial compensation to the victims and their families. We’re working to determine how much, to whom and the right process through which these funds should flow. Galen did express our perspective earlier this week about the meeting in Geneva and our progress on this front, during a real estate conference. For context, in the event you read the piece in the Globe, Galen took a question from one of the participants at the conference during open floor Q and A, which was about Bangladesh.. Marina Strauss was in the audience, that's how that piece came about.
REGARDING BUILDING AUDITS:
- we have signed onto the Accord on Fire and Building Safety (we are one of 80 plus brands in the Accord and the only Canadian company to do so).
-we have established our own Loblaw standard that states that all of our control brand Loblaw products must be made in facilities that respect local construction and building codes. Vendors that want to do business with Loblaw must comply.
- Since May, we completed full audits of all our vendor factories (40 factories) that produce for us in Bangladesh and removed from our approved list those factories who did not meet our new standards (7).
The audits and standards include criteria for building integrity.