Plastic maker is the latest casualty of Disney's exit
New orders for plastic goods from Disney are not coming Bangladesh's way after the company decided to stop sourcing from here because of poor labour and factory conditions, an official of PRAN-RFL said.
The US-based company however has kept its previously placed orders with the Bangladeshi companies in clothing and other items. The
company will stop sourcing from here by March 2014, exporters said yesterday.
Disney's decision to stop sourcing from Bangladesh is going to affect both apparel and plastic makers.
"Our exports will suffer for Disney's decision. We are going to be the victim of weak labour standards in another sector," said a senior official of PRAN-RFL Group, seeking anonymity.
RFL, a leading local plastic goods maker, has been a supplier of specialised products such as children's tiffin boxes, hangers, water pots, mugs and cutlery to Disney for the last three years.
Its monthly shipments to Disney stood at nearly $600,000, he said, adding that Disney's decision would affect 400 employees working at the PRAN-RFL plant.
“The decision from Disney came at a time when our exports to the company started growing,” he said.
"We are facing intense competition after the suspension of the GSP privileges by the US and Disney's move will further affect our exports.”
Early this year, Disney said it would not allow production of its brand products in 44 countries, including Bangladesh and Pakistan, in line with its decision to consolidate production in a limited number of countries.
Less than 1 percent of the factories used by Disney's contractors are in Bangladesh, reports The New York Times, quoting a Disney official.
The company took the decision in the face of repeated tragedies and the death of garment workers due to poor labour and factory standards.
In November last year, a fire at Tazreen Fashions killed 112 garment workers. In April this year, 1,132 workers died and hundreds were injured due to the Rana Plaza collapse.
"We have no non-compliance record in our factory. But we are going to pay the price for the fault of others," the RFL official said.
"We will approach Disney to review its decision."
Faruque Hassan, a former vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said Disney mainly sourced children's items from Bangladeshi companies.
"They (Disney) are not placing new orders now and are continuing previously placed orders. I hope they will return before the existing orders exhaust because of improvements in labour standards.”
Fazlul Hoque, former president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the volume of Disney's purchases from Bangladesh was not significant.
“But its withdrawal will affect Bangladesh's image," he said. "We need to ensure sustainable development in factory standards. Visible and trustworthy improvements are necessary to bring buyers like Disney back."
Disney said it will continue to monitor 'working conditions'.
Countries that demonstrate meaningful improvements as reflected in the World Bank Governance Indicators or that adopt the International Labour Organisation and International Finance Corporation's Better Work programme will be considered for future inclusion on the Permitted Sourcing Countries list, it said.