About 70 per cent of Americans have heard of the Rana Plaza collapse in Savar that killed over a 1,000 people, and for some it means they will probably buy fewer goods made in Bangladesh, according to a US poll report. Among those who learned of the deaths, 39 per cent said they would probably buy fewer products produced in Bangladesh, said a survey conducted by Harris Poll, an American marketing research company.
The report published at Bloomberg on Tuesday said that women are more likely to change shopping habits than men, 42 per cent to 34 per cent, the poll shows.
A group of retailers comprising mostly European chains, including Hennes & Mauritz AB and Inditex SA, pledged $60 million over five years to increase monitoring of conditions.
The eight-story Rana Plaza that housed four garment factories, collapsed on April 24, killing at least 1,127 people. As rescuers searched for survivors in the following weeks the rising death toll brought increased media coverage. The incident, which is one of the world’s deadliest industrial accidents, has prompted more calls for reform in Bangladesh after a fire in an apparel factory there killed 112 people in November.
Apparel accounts for 80 per cent of the country’s exports and employs about 3.4 million people. As wages rose in other apparel-producing countries such as China, companies have turned to the cheaper labor in Bangladesh.
Since the collapse, companies that buy clothes made by factories in Bangladesh have announced plans to improve safety. A group of retailers comprising mostly European chains, including Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB) and Inditex SA (ITX), pledged $60 million over five years to increase monitoring of conditions. 0Several U.S. chains, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Gap Inc., didn’t sign the agreement. Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, will instead make public the safety inspections of its 279 authorized suppliers in Bangladesh that are to be completed in the next six months. Gap has said it is “ready to sign,” pending a change to the provision regarding binding arbitration.
Workers there have also been protesting as they demand higher wages. The government has said it’s considering raising the minimum wage of about $39 a month.
The survey asked respondents if they looked at labels to find out where a garment was made before purchasing, and 44 per cent said they did.
Americans older than 55 had the highest probability to do so at 53 per cent. And while just 49 per cent of respondents aged 18 to 34 had heard of the collapse, 86 per cent of those aged 55 of higher knew.
-With The Independent input