April 9, 2013
/PRNewswire/ -- As part of their ongoing commitment to improving fire safety standards in
, today Walmart announced a
donation to the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), a U.S. based NGO, to establish the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Academy in
. Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, is also a partner in providing support for the new Academy.
Through the EHS Academy, apparel manufacturers in
will have access to high quality, affordable and comprehensive training on fire safety and environment, health and workplace safety. In addition to funding, Walmart will also provide technical support and advice to ISC. The goal of the partnership is to provide a local, long-term platform for addressing challenges in the supply chain related to fire safety through technical training and engagement.
"We urgently need to create long-term change in
. Today, the immediate need may be fire safety – but we can't tackle these challenges one at a time. From fire safety, to toxic chemicals, to greenhouse gas emissions– we need to stress comprehensive, systemic change in how factories understand and address interrelated environment, health and safety issues over the long term," said ISC's President,
. "In partnership with the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), and other corporate partners, led by Walmart, ISC is developing a locally owned and operated nonprofit Environmental Health and Safety Academy that will train 2,000 Bangladeshi factory managers annually in the skills they need to drive factories toward better safety and sustainability. It's good for them, it's good for their communities and it's good for the world."
The initial focus of EHS Academy in
will be the ready-made garment sector, and there will be a strong emphasis on fire safety, water management, enhancing gender equity in the workplace and creating professional opportunities for Bangladeshi women.
"At Walmart, as we work to raise standards in the global supply chain we continue to actively seek out partnerships with government stakeholders, nonprofits and NGOs. That is why were are partnering with ISC, who is known for combining expertise in leadership, institutional development and community capacity building to improving people's lives and the earth's ecosystem," said
, vice president of Ethical Sourcing for Walmart. "The EHS Academy is an important part of our ongoing commitment to improve fire safety standards in
and we are proud to partner with ISC to address the critical need for training around fire safety, health and workplace safety."
Fire safety remains a critical area of focus for Walmart. In
, Walmart instituted a zero tolerance policy for unauthorized subcontracting and strengthened fire safety standards in
. Walmart will also conduct electrical, building and fire safety assessments of factories in
to help prevent fires in RMG Industry. Walmart continues to actively work with a variety of stakeholders to raise awareness of fire safety and establish best practices for fire prevention in
to improve the industry as a whole. For example, Walmart is working with the Bangladesh Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the government of
to reinforce the critical need for improved fire safety in
and to highlight effective steps that can be taken to meet current fire safety challenges.
ISC's goal in
is to transform the way factories are managed in order to improve the environment, health, and safety of communities and workers -- with an initial focus on strengthening fire safety. Prior to their partnership in
, Walmart supported a similar EHS Academy in
, providing financial resources, technical expertise and advice that contributed to two strong EHS Academies with high impact training courses and trainers, growing recognition and an ever-expanding pool of peer-networked trainees in
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, more than 200 million customers and members visit our more than 10,500 stores under 69 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2013 sales of approximately
, Walmart employs more than 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting
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and on Twitter at
. Online merchandise sales are available at
About the Institute for Sustainable Communities
A global nonprofit organization, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has 22 years of experience working with local leaders to accelerate pragmatic solutions in governance, climate change and sustainability. ISC has led over 91 projects in 25 countries, and currently works in
, Serbia and
the United States