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United Colors of Benetton Pays $1.1M To Rana Plaza Trust Fund

Italian fashion group United Colors of Benetton announced Friday that it has contributed $1.1 million to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund to further support the victims of the tragedy.

This payment follows a previous one for $500,000 the group made through BRAC, the support group it launched in partnership with a Bangladesh-based global NGO one month after the disaster and before the trust was established. Two years ago April 24, the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1,132 garment workers and injuring more than 2,500.

The $1.1 million amount is double the sum recommended in an independent assessment of its contribution by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and endorsed by a nongovernmental organization, Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP).

“We welcome the PwC report and WRAP’s contribution. We have decided to go further to demonstrate very clearly how deeply we care,” said Marco Airoldi, CEO of Benetton Group. “Whilst there is no real redress for the tragic loss of life we hope that this robust and clear mechanism for calculating compensation could be used more widely. For this reason, we decided to make the PwC report publicly available to all stakeholders.”

To determine its recommendation for Benetton, one of the 29 brands connected to companies working in the Rana Plaza building, PwC based its report on an assessment from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and found that a total compensation of $30 million should be paid to the fund. PwC calculated the group’s contribution to be $550,000 because of the level of its commercial association with Rana Plaza.

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However, PwC has not factored in contributions from other third parties like the government of Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Exporters Association BGMEA.

The group says this means that if all of the brands involved followed in its footsteps, and after payments from other third parties, the total fund could significantly exceed $30 million.

Benetton has made a commitment to improve working conditions and living standards for workers in the international garment industry through several sustainability initiatives across its global supply chain. The group says it will progressively apply the principles of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh to its producers in other global markets.

“Benetton has a proud history of social commitment. We believe that by working closely with the right suppliers we can help to improve factory conditions for workers in Bangladesh and in many other parts of the world,” Airoldi added.

Primark also announced this month that it paid 95 percent, or $14 million, of its promised long-term compensations for 668 victims who were affected by the collapse. The company had been sourcing product from New Wave Bottoms, a supplier on the second floor of the Rana Plaza facility.