Tesco opens Skills Foundation for garment workers
Tesco, a retail giant of the UK, has recently announced the launch of an Apparel Skills Foundation to support Bangladesh's readymade garment industry.
The foundation, a joint initiative of the Department for International Development and their Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector Challenge Fund, will provide training, expertise and tools to improve workers' productivity.
It will increase the overall long-term competitiveness and sustainability of the industry in Bangladesh, according to a statement of the British High Commission in Dhaka yesterday.
Over 100 factories are expected to get training by 2015 through the foundation which is open to all garment producers in Bangladesh.
“The Skills Foundation is a smart, sustainable business solution," said Dame Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Tesco's executive director for corporate and legal affairs.
"Increasing efficiency and productivity will improve the lives, pay and conditions of garment factory workers while enabling us to deliver high quality clothing to our customers at affordable prices without comprising on ethics."
"This is the right thing to do and a win-win for Tesco, our suppliers and their workers, and our customers,” he said.
The foundation will act as a great example to show how responsible and ethical garment production is good for business and that commercial and financial results can be boosted when employment conditions improve, said Justine Greening, secretary of state for international development.
"I am delighted that, together, Tesco and the UK Government are encouraging this much needed positive change in the garment industry in Bangladesh with the Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector Challenge Fund.”
Tesco opened its sourcing office in Dhaka in 2002 and last year exported £310 million worth of products from the country.
In Bangladesh, a pilot programme for the foundation was launched in three factories in May 2012 where since then workers' pay per hour has gone up by 19 percent, monthly working hours are down 16 percent, labour turnover is down 45 percent, absenteeism is down 25 percent and line efficiency is up 20 percent on the pilot line.
Tesco has clothing and non-food sourcing offices in eight countries across the globe.