"If we identify issues that cause us to believe that people's lives are in danger, we will take swift action," said Kamalanathan. "Preventing the kinds of tragedies that have recently taken place in Bangladesh will only happen if all stakeholders across the board set clear parameters and take action to drive real safety and compliance improvements."
Walmart also announced today that they will be contracting with Bureau Veritas to provide fire safety training to every worker in every factory that produces goods for the company in Bangladesh. In addition, the company is contributing $600,000 towards a project that empowers workers to have a voice in the solution. By partnering with Labor Voices, a company that communicates proactively and directly with workers to identify and share concerns inside of factories, Walmart will gain new insights for ensuring the safety of and empowering factory workers. This grassroots level outreach to workers will be introduced at all 279 factories in the company's supply chain in Bangladesh, and provides another important venue for safety issues to be raised. This proactive outreach is in addition to the company's existing hotline already available to factory workers.
"Walmart is committed to a global supply chain that first and foremost provides safe conditions for workers," said Kamalanathan. "In announcing these changes, Walmart is focusing directly on the most urgent issue, and that's worker safety. We invite others to join us in this effort."
These new announcements build upon improvements to Walmart's previously announced sourcing practices that include a zero tolerance policy for unauthorized subcontracting, offering fire safety training to factories through a $1.6 million contribution to the newly created Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) Academy, improving jobs for more than 17,000 workers in 34 factories in Bangladesh through its Lean manufacturing program, and empowering the women who work in Walmart's supply chain factories through the company's Women in Factories program that is teaching 60,000 women critical life skills.About Walmart 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 $466 billion, 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 http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmartnewsroom. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.