Target: Doug McMillon, Executive Vice President, Chief Executive Officer of International Operations and President of International Operations
Goal: Demand compensation for the victims of the Tazreen Factory Fire in Bangladesh
Over a year after the factory fire in the Tazreen textile factory in Bangladesh, Wal-Mart has refused to accept their responsibility to provide compensation to the victims and their families under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Documents and product tags found by Bangladeshi activists link Wal-Mart to factory operations, but the company has denied liability and connection to the factory at the time of the fire.
The UN guiding principles require businesses to have “a human rights due diligence process to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their impacts on human rights.”
So did Wal-Mart do its due diligence?
The recovered documents show that Wal-Mart was, indirectly, one of Tazreen’s biggest customers. The company had at least six orders placed by an intermediary supplier in the year before the fire. Wal-Mart claimed that the supplier in question was not authorized to make these orders and directly violated company policy.
Still, Wal-Mart appears to have neglected due diligence in prevention of the tragedy. An inspection conducted for Canadian Wal-Mart supplier NTD Apparel Inc. pointed out multiple fire safety hazards, including blocked stairways and insufficient fire extinguishing equipment, at Tazreen almost a full year before the fire. There has been no response to the Human Rights Watch letter asking if Wal-Mart knew about these problems and/or did anything to improve safety conditions. Their silence is deafening.
Furthermore, Brad Adams, president of Human Rights Watch Asia, recently said, “Given the scale of the orders, if Walmart had undertaken due diligence about where its clothes were being manufactured it should have known that Tazreen was continuing to supply them.” Thus, Wal-Mart should be held responsible for not undertaking due diligence and should provide compensation to the victims.
Please sign the following petition to tell the new Wal-Mart CEO, Doug McMillon, to partner with other businesses and the International Labour Organization in creating a compensation plan for the victims of the Tazreen factory fire.
Dear Doug McMillon, Chief Executive Officer, Wal-Mart,
The fire at Tazreen Factory on November 24th, 2012 claimed the lives of at least 112 workers. Even if Wal-Mart was no longer officially associated with the factory, Bangladeshi activists found documents proving that Wal-Mart products were being made in the factory at the time of the fire. Furthermore, the factory inspection conducted almost a year before the fire for your supplier, NTD Apparel Inc., found multiple fire safety violations. It is quite irresponsible and devastating to have not investigated these reports. Thus, in summary, Wal-Mart has dodged its responsibility and failed to undertake the human rights due diligence proscribed by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
I implore you to join other companies associated with the factory and the International Labour Organization in creating a compensation fund for the victims of the Tazreen fire and their families. Please establish an ethical standard for Wal-Mart: Respect and aid those affected by this disaster and set an example for companies around the globe.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: David Wilson via Wikimedia Commons