Avery Dennison, UNICEF team up to support maternity rights, childcare facilities in Bangladesh's garment industry
Avery Dennison, a global materials science and digital identification solutions company, has partnered with UNICEF to support better working conditions for women, particularly by promoting maternity rights and childcare facilities in the country's garment industry.
Through this partnership, the Avery Dennison Foundation will provide funding of $200,000 over two years to expand the programme to an additional 160 RMG (Ready-Made Garment) factories in Bangladesh, according to a press release.
This will help build the capacity of their 2,000 staff, including health workers and care providers, and strengthen initiatives that provide maternity protection and breastfeeding support in the workplace. This includes providing breastfeeding spaces and breaks, paid maternity leave, healthcare, employment protection, and a safe work environment for working mothers and pregnant women, said a press release.
The collaboration was announced at an event held in the city, where leaders from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) were present.
The funding will enhance the protection of maternity rights through BKMEA and BGMEA and support the RMG factories in establishing an environment for breastfeeding and childcare facilities for women workers in the workplace.
In addition to providing a core grant for the [email protected] programme, a national initiative, Avery Dennison is also organising a fundraising campaign involving its employees. Under this campaign, artwork by children of employees will be auctioned, and products created with the artwork will be sold online, with all proceeds going to the [email protected] initiative.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, and the ILO BetterWork Bangladesh programme, the [email protected] programme was implemented in 113 RMG factories during 2017-2021.
With the current support from Avery Dennison, 160 more RMG factories will be reached with the [email protected] programme interventions over the next two years, and 144,000 female workers will be made aware and informed about maternity rights, breastfeeding support services, and nutritional requirements during pre and post-pregnancy.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kenny Liu, Vice President and General Manager, South Asia & EMEA, Apparel Solutions, Avery Dennison said, "Avery Dennison is committed to improving the livelihoods and diversity of garment workers. This aligns with our 2030 sustainability goal of making a positive social impact on our people and communities. Our values of sustainability and diversity, including inclusion and empowerment of women, drive us to create a supportive environment for all our workers, and we will continue to work towards a sustainable future."
Sheldon Yett, UNICEF representative to Bangladesh, said, "Breastfeeding spaces, childcare facilities, paid maternity leave, and safe work environments are not just central to the well-being of working mothers and their children but also to the success of businesses competing for the best staff."