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Primark and DFID to Improve Factory Conditions in Bangladesh and Pakistan

Primark Oxford Street

Irish fast-fashion retailer Primark has partnered with the U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID) in a bid to better working conditions for garment workers in developing markets.

The news came a few weeks after shoppers came forward to say they had found notes allegedly written by Chinese slave workers in pairs of socks sold by the chain. China, however, isn’t on the list of countries set to benefit from this pairing.

Primark, an Ethical Trading Initiative board member, said it will work with DFID to improve the health and wellbeing of local laborers, bolster national economic development and help alleviate poverty in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Ethiopia and India.

A launch date has yet to be announced but a large part of the program will support the empowerment of women workers through gender equality training in garment factories, while Primark and DFID will train female nurses in Bangladesh through the HerHealth organization.

The partnership also aims to develop ethical and sustainable garment sectors in existing and emerging markets, such as Myanmar and East Africa, and both parties will share lessons learned from the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, including Primark’s work with local partners to provide short- and long-term support to the victims and their families.

“At Primark, we are committed to ensuring that the people who make our products work in good conditions, are treated properly and paid a fair wage. That’s why we now have more than 60 people working for our ethical trade team across our supply chain to ensure our high standards are met,” said Paul Lister, who is responsible for this team. “We know that as well as ensuring worker rights are protected within the factories we work with, we can positively impact lives outside of the factory too. Whether it’s financial literacy, health education or helping workers understand their rights, we’ve seen that simple initiatives with local partners can make a huge difference.”