The fifth estate wanted to know where a shirt designed by former Walmart designer Sujeet Sennik was made. Using shipping records, we traced the shirt back to a factory in Dhaka named Hasan Tanvir Fashion Wears. This factory was placed on Walmart’s official unapproved factories list in June 2013. We asked Walmart why a factory they have banned was still making clothing for them.
Below is Walmart’s official response to our queries:
WALMART CANADA STATEMENT
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Transparency and continuous improvement in our supply chain are extremely important to us. Based on our records, a George women’s shirt with flutter sleeves was made at the Hasan Tanvir factory in the spring of 2013 prior to that factory being placed on Walmart’s unauthorized factories list. Our records show that the supplier was not Islam Garments Ltd. A domestic Canadian supplier engaged the Hasan Tanvir factory to make that shirt.
Hasan Tanvir Wears Ltd. was put on our unauthorized factories list in June 2013. When this happened, Walmart made the decision to allow final orders from the factory to be received through September because the orders had already been placed, and we therefore felt an obligation to transition production out of the factory in a way that would not unduly penalize factory workers by abruptly cancelling pre-existing orders.
Walmart Canada additional statement:
Walmart is taking a number of specific actions to improve working conditions in Bangladesh, and is driving significant reform of the ready-made garment industry. We are focused on factory safety, worker empowerment, and supply chain transparency.
- Bureau Veritas, a respected world leader in testing, inspection and certification services, is conducting in-depth electrical and building safety inspections of 100 percent of factories supplying goods directly to Walmart suppliers.
- As part of the inspection process, a team of two to eight experienced civil and electrical engineers conduct in-depth electrical and building safety reviews of each factory. This process has already begun, and usually takes up to 10 days per facility.
- We have committed $50 million of low cost capital available to factory owners to help with the necessary remediations.
- Through Bureau Veritas, we are training each and every worker about fire safety in factories that produce goods for our suppliers.
- We are driving increased transparency in our supply chain and will post the results of our in-depth electrical and building safety inspections publicly on our corporate website.
- We have implemented a zero-tolerance policy for unauthorized subcontracting. This includes any undisclosed subcontracting conducted with or without the supplier’s knowledge.
- Together with more than 20 North American brands and retailers we launched the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative. This binding, five-year undertaking will lead to significant fire and building safety improvements for factory workers by creating common standards and taking measurable, large-scale actions across major areas essential to improving safety