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Statement from Primark: 10 years on from the Rana Plaza tragedy

10 years on from Rana Plaza: an update on the support provided by Primark since the disaster, and our ongoing commitment

We’ve always taken our responsibility to the workers who make our products very seriously, and were deeply shocked and saddened by the Rana Plaza tragedy. In addition to the compensation program we initiated in the immediate aftermath for hundreds of our suppliers’ workers, we provided long-term financial support – both totaling over $14 million – and have supported hundreds of victims through our Pashe Achi program as well. 

We remain committed to Bangladesh and to the implementation of safe working environments in our supply chain there, through our long-standing membership of the Accord, continuous monitoring of our Supplier Code of Conduct, and Primark’s own building safety program which now operates in five of our sourcing markets, including Bangladesh. We have a team of more than 130 people working locally in 12 countries, including all our key sourcing markets, who play a vital role in monitoring that our standards are met.

Primark’s immediate response to Rana Plaza

In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, our team on the ground in Bangladesh worked with local partners to provide emergency food aid for over 1,265 households. 

Financial aid and compensation provided by Primark

  • We provided short-term financial aid for 3,621 workers and/or their families, the equivalent of nine months’ salary—irrespective of whether or not they worked at our supplier's factory.

  • In the months following the disaster, we developed a long-term compensation program for workers at our supplier's factory, or their dependents, working with local partners including Dhaka University, and in consultation with the International Labor Organization (ILO). Long-term compensation totaled $11 million and was given to 672 individuals. We also contributed $1.25 million to ILO’s Rana Plaza Donor Trust Fund, and provided both financial education and additional non-financial support to help people manage their compensation.

Non-financial support through our Pashe Achi program, meaning "By Your Side"

  • Today, some of the most vulnerable beneficiaries and former workers of our supplier's factory continue to receive non-financial support through our Pashe Achi program, a collaboration with the University of Dhaka and other experts. 142 beneficiaries continue to be supported through this program today. The program aims to build the confidence and knowledge of those impacted by the tragedy so they can manage their financial compensation. They are also given advice on how to access health services and legal support, through regular contact and a 24-hour helpline.

Our Structural Integrity Program

  • We also established our own building safety program (known as our Structural Integrity Program) in Bangladesh in 2013, to assess the safety of all supplier factories against international standards. This continues to be central to our program of monitoring suppliers’ factories today. If areas are found to require improvement, we work with the suppliers and their factories – in collaboration with a team of structural and civil engineers from international engineering firms – to provide technical support and guidance. Our Structural Integrity Program was expanded to Pakistan in 2015, Myanmar and Cambodia in 2019 and India in 2022. Our goal is to roll it out across all our sourcing markets.

The International Accord (formerly the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh)

  • We were also one of the first signatories of the 2013 Bangladesh Accord. As the Accord seeks to take the lessons learned from Bangladesh further afield, we were happy to sign up to its extension into Pakistan in 2023.

Our Code of Conduct and Ongoing Commitment

  • Every supplier we work with in our sourcing markets, in Bangladesh and elsewhere, must comply with our Code of Conduct. These are non-negotiable ethical standards that we expect our suppliers to uphold in the factories they use for Primark production.

  • Every Tier 1 factory in the Primark-approved supply chain is audited at least once a year, mostly unannounced – and more frequently in some instances – to monitor for compliance with our Code of Conduct. If any issues are raised during these audits, all efforts are made to resolve them. Throughout 2021, we carried out 2,400 audits either ourselves or through third-party audit contractors.

  • For 15 years, we have continued to invest in growing our Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Program and its team. Our Code of Conduct is the bedrock of this program. We have more than 130 team members working locally in 12 countries, which includes all our key sourcing markets. They play a vital monitoring role to ensure our standards are met.

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