North American retailers offer Bangladesh safety plan

New York -- A group of 17  North American retailers, including Walmart, J.C. Penney, Gap, Target and Macy’s, on Wednesday announced a five-year safety pact aimed at improving conditions in garment factories in Bangladesh. It calls for inspecting all factories that supply their garments within a year, and an agreement to set up basic safety standards within three months.

The announcement by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety comes after a separate safety plan was announced on Monday by a group of mostly European companies.

The North American plan pledges $42 million for worker safety, and more than $100 million in loans and other financing to help factory owners in the country correct safety problems. It is backed by a number of groups, including the American Apparel & Footwear Association, Canadian Apparel Federation, National Retail Federation, Retail Council of Canada, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and the United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel.