4 years ago

23 BD factories supply to Amazon

Online retail giant eyes ethical business

- Reuters file photo
- Reuters file photo

Published :

Updated :

Online retail giant Amazon has disclosed the names and addresses of its suppliers, including 23 factories from Bangladesh that produce Amazon-branded products.

It disclosed on November 15 a list of more than 1,000 facilities that included Bangladeshi suppliers' names.

The world's largest e-commerce hub said it is strongly committed to conducting its business in a lawful and ethical manner.

Amazon seeks to engage with suppliers that respect human rights, provide safe and inclusive workplaces, and promote a sustainable future.

"We engage with suppliers that are committed to these same principles," the company said.

Its global teams work closely with suppliers to communicate standards and help them build capacity to provide safe and respectful working environments.

Amazon recently faced criticism over its hosting third-party sellers who sourced apparel items from a Bangladeshi factory which was reported unsafe.

Industry people call the disclosure a move good as they see the business with Amazon a beginning for future as the trading pattern is now shifting to online ones.

Most of the local factories might have indirect business with the online platform, they opined.

Rights groups claim the list is not easily accessible, sortable or sufficiently specific to learn the type of products made in each facility, limiting its value for consumers, workers and labour advocates.

Amazon's public disclosure adds to a growing trend of brands and retailers publishing information on their global suppliers that make their own-brand goods.

The 2019 Fashion Transparency Index (FTI) reported that 35 per cent of the 200 major apparel brands surveyed published their production locations, up from 12.5 per cent of the 40 brands surveyed in the 2016 index.

According to rights groups, this increase in publicly disclosing supply chain data shows companies are moving toward greater transparency.

A company with Amazon's resources is able to take stronger action to ensure better transparency and improve human rights due diligence in its supply chains, they said.

Amazon should fully align with the Transparency Pledge standard, disclose additional layers of its supply chains, and make the information easily accessible and filterable, following industry good practice.

It should also track and publicly disclose which of the factories it uses have unionised workers and collective bargaining agreements, they added.

"The decision by Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, sends an unambiguous message that transparency is critically important and here to stay and grow," said Aruna Kashyap, senior women's rights counsel at Human Rights Watch.

"Brands that don't publicly disclose their supply chains may not know where their products are made, making it harder to determine whether they are acting responsibly, and where the disclosure is not easily accessible, they make it difficult for workers to report labour abuses."

"We hope Amazon's disclosure is the first step of many toward supply chain justice," said Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union.

"In addition to transparency, the company needs to make binding commitments with unions to monitor and fix problems in the factories it uses and report on its progress publicly. Amazon can - and should - do better in its supply chain and its own fulfillment centers."

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Dr Rubana Huq terms the local makers in Amazon's list 'great news'.

She said most of the local suppliers might have indirect business with the e-commerce giant.

"But we need to figure out a way on how we can do business in case with online platforms directly," Ms Rubana told the FE.

Fazlul Hoque, former president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporter Association (BKMEA), said such news is obviously good at a time when the business pattern is fast going online.

Global buyers and brands are going for online sale to remain in the race, he added.

[email protected]

Share this news