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Update Regarding Bangladesh
December 21, 2012
On November 24, 2012, a fire occurred in the Tazreen Fashions factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh that resulted in the tragic death of at least 112 workers. We at The Walt Disney Company extend our deepest sympathies to the families who lost loved ones in this tragedy. We share the perspective of other brands, human rights groups, government agencies, workers’ organizations and others that more must be done to prevent tragic fires like the one at Tazreen.
There have been several erroneous reports about the nature of Disney’s relationship with the Tazreen factory. We would like to clarify:
- Tazreen was not an authorized supplier for Disney-branded product – neither for independent licensees producing their own product nor for product intended to be sold by Disney through our own retail operations.
- Press reports have indicated that several boxes of sweatshirts with Disney characters were found at Tazreen. Walmart, the authorized licensee that produced this product for sale in Walmart stores, has advised us that the product was not produced at the Tazreen factory but that one of its suppliers moved a small quantity of this product to Tazreen for storage without Walmart’s authorization.
- Disney did not authorize the movement of products to Tazreen. As described, the movement of this product and its storage at an unauthorized factory is a violation of our policies and requirements.
- We are working with Walmart to review their supply chain management systems to help us gain greater confidence that Disney-branded products are only produced and stored in authorized factories.
The vast majority of Disney-branded products are manufactured and sold by independent licensees that are granted the right to manufacture and sell products to or through independent retail operations around the world. In these business arrangements, Disney does not oversee the purchase orders, manufacturing, import, distribution or sale of these products and, indeed, Disney does not own these products. Disney is not in any contractual arrangement with the factory; does not determine the order price, quantity, or delivery date; and often is not an influential party at the factory level. Regardless, Disney requires licensees to adhere to a set of strict labor standards when producing products that may contain our intellectual property.
Disney generally does not source product directly from factories in Bangladesh. Our Disney Stores division and our Theme Parks and Resort division – our primary retail operations – have chosen not to source from Bangladesh.
We have long understood that there are particular risks in Bangladesh and have had in place a very restrictive policy for licensees sourcing from Bangladesh for over a decade. We continue to look at refining the requirements for who, how and when licensees are permitted to produce their products incorporating Disney intellectual property in Bangladesh. We remain increasingly concerned about the environment in Bangladesh and the systemic challenges faced in helping to promote safe, inclusive and respectful workplaces.
Health and safety of factory workers is a key component of our International Labor Standards program. With respect to fire safety, we are reviewing our own internal practices to determine if there is an opportunity for us to continue to strengthen our assessment and remediation practices. We are also closely monitoring and reviewing a range of industry and multi-stakeholders programs to help address fire safety issues in a collaborative and sustainable way. We remain eager to evaluate collaborative options that will improve fire safety conditions and hope that these collaborative efforts will have an effective and positive impact on labor conditions for the workers.
For more information about Disney’s International Labor Standards program, see www.DisneyLaborStandards.com.
September 20, 2013
In the months following the tragic factory fire at Tazreen Fashions, we and several other companies have received inquiries about our plans in Bangladesh and any actions we may be contemplating with respect to Tazreen specifically. As described above and shared with stakeholders and media outlets over the last 10 months, Disney branded goods were not manufactured at Tazreen and so we do not see a role for us in discussions related to Tazreen.
Disney is committed to operating a robust, transparent and responsive ILS program and as part of an ongoing review of our policies and procedures, we have made adjustments to our sourcing guidelines that will help us better manage the challenges associated with a complex global supply chain. In March of this year we decided to consolidate production of Disney-branded goods in a more limited number of Permitted Sourcing Countries and have instructed our licensees and vendors to transition the production of Disney-branded goods out of the highest-risk countries, including Bangladesh and forty-three other countries by March 2014. The full policy, published in March 2013, is available here.
We have made this change to more effectively focus our resources, better manage the supply chain for Disney-branded products, and meet our standards on a more reliable and consistent basis in locations more likely to make continuous improvements in working conditions. These are complicated global issues and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. After much thought, discussion and consultation, we came to the conclusion that this was the most responsible way to manage the challenges associated with our supply chain.
While only a few of our licensees and vendors currently produce Disney-branded products in these impacted countries, it is our intent to support a responsible transition of any remaining production. We understand this may require engagement with suppliers to help facilitate this transition in a manner that limits the impact to their business and to the employees working in their production facilities.
We will continue to monitor working conditions around the world. Countries that demonstrate meaningful improvements as reflected in the World Bank Governance Indicators or that adopt the ILO/IFC’s Better Work program will be considered for future inclusion on the Permitted Sourcing Countries list.