Thank the UN for Calling for Worker Safety After Bangladesh Tragedy

Target: UN Global Compact

Goal: Thank the UN Global Compact for working with local communities and resources to call for worker safety after Bangladesh tragedy.

On April 24th, 2013, a nine-story garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh with thousands of workers inside. While most were saved, more than 600 people perished. What adds to this tragedy is the fact that the factory owner and the garment company executives were aware of the structural weaknesses in the building. In fact, it is reported that the day before the tragedy, an inspector advised evacuation of the building but the admonition was ignored and workers were forced to go to work in the building the next day anyway.

In the wake of this tragedy, while the world was expressing its outrage, the UN Global Compact took actions to address what needed to be done to change things.  This organization is the world’s largest corporate citizenship and sustainability initiative, and it directs policy initiatives based upon principles of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. In a brief on International Workers’ Day, the UN declared a need for respect for human rights and supply chain awareness and sustainability, and released the resources and tools they had developed to address the failures presented by the tragedy.

They worked with Better Work, a partnership between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), as well as online resources such as the  Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum and the Global Compact’s own website, to foster discussion so responsible communities could put principles into action. They specifically address that it is not simply a factory owner or a garment company, or even an industry such as the garment industry, that can be blamed for this tragedy, but that these problems are systemic to the manufacturing industry. Therefore, they called on all manufacturing industries as a whole to respect human rights and commit to supply chain sustainability, and provided resources to do so.

By addressing supply chain failures and providing resources to create community around all parties involved, the UN Global Compact has moved the conversation for worker health and safety forward. Thank them for not tolerating outrage without action and fighting for the lives of the workers who perished.


Dear UN Global Compact leaders,

Thank you for taking action and engaging the manufacturing and supply chain communities in a collaborative response to the tragedy in Dhaka, Bangledesh, on April 24th, where the Rana Plaza building collapsed and killed hundreds of people.

You have addressed the underlying issue of supply chain management and called on these communities to come together and respect human rights and work together for solutions for worker health and safety.

Thank you for working with Better Work and providing online resources that these communities can use and be effective with in engaging their own companies and workers to enact solutions.

Lastly, thank you for not tolerating outrage without action and moving this important conversation forward.  Thank you for fighting for the lives of the workers who perished on April 24th.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Derek Blackadder via Flickr

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