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Investors Call for Stronger Financial Commitments from Brands and Retailers to Aid Victims of Rana Plaza April 24th, 2014

On the one-year anniversary of the tragic garment factory building collapse in Bangladesh, a global investor initiative reminds companies of their corporate responsibility to protect, respect and remediate human rights violations throughout their supply chains.

A global coalition of 134 institutional investors representing over $4.1 trillion in managed assets and led by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) today released a statement marking the one-year anniversary of the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. The Missionary Oblates are closely involved in the investor initiative urging companies to use their influence to improve work and safety conditions in Bangladesh.

Rana Plaza was one of the worst workplace disasters in history, resulting in the deaths of over 1,100 garment factory workers who were forced to work in the building even though they had left the building the day before because of major cracks in a wall. The tragedy underscored the need for heightened vigilance on the part of apparel companies for potential human rights risks in their global supply chains, particularly when they source from low-cost producing nations such as Bangladesh.

The investor initiative comprises responsible institutional investors from a dozen countries who actively engage the companies in their portfolios to promote corporate responsibility on critical environmental and social issues, including the human rights risks of trafficking and slavery. The coalition was convened by ICCR after the Rana Plaza disaster to urge apparel brands and retailers sourcing from Bangladesh to use their collective influence to help institute system-wide changes that will ensure the future safety of apparel workers.

Investors point to several key achievements over the last 12 months, many of which emerged through the formation of the multi-stakeholder initiative the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, which includes trade unions and apparel brands and retailers, with an independent chair from the International Labor Organization.

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