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Target Australia Discloses Bangladesh Factories

Target Australia has published a list of its Bangladesh factory partners in an effort to maintain transparency in the wake of recent tragedies in the low-wage nation’s garment sector.

The retailer disclosed the factories Wednesday and said supply chain transparency was key to improving working conditions and safety standards in Bangladesh. Target listed the names of 37 Bangladeshi suppliers on its website, and intends to publish details of factory partners from all sourcing countries by the end of 2015.

Target managing director Stuart Machin said, “We have a responsibility to ensure that everyone who works for our business, whether directly or indirectly, is safe in their workplace.” He added, “This is also a key concern for our customers, who want to know that the products they purchase from Target are sourced and produced ethically.”

The discount retailer was one of the first Australian companies to sign on to the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety and one of the first to commit to publishing details about its suppliers.

Oxfam Australia, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting poverty, said Target’s move is a “crucial step” toward bettering conditions for workers in Bangladesh and called on other Australian retailers to be transparent about where they source their garments.

Daisy Gardener, Oxfam Australia’s corporate accountability and fair trade advisor, said, “Without releasing information about supplier locations, there is no way to independently check that decent conditions and basic rights are being upheld within factories.” She added, “Consumers are concerned about wages and conditions for the men and women making their clothes.  They are going to social media to ask companies to ensure decent wages for workers. Once companies disclose where their factories are, the next big issue to tackle is poverty wages.”

Target joins Kmart and Woolworths, which have also already disclosed their Bangladesh factory suppliers, and VF Corp. announced in June that it would reveal the names and locations of the 91 factories it uses in Bangladesh.

Machin said Target was proud of its “transparent and ethically-driven sourcing model” and is committed to making continued improvements. “We hope that our presence in Bangladesh and other developing countries can be a catalyst for improving the lives of workers,” Machin said.