Bangladeshis watch the rescue operations at the site of a building that collapsed Wednesday in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, April 25, 2013. By Thursday, the death toll reached at least 194 people as rescuers continued to search for injured and missing, after a huge section of an eight-story building that housed several garment factories splintered into a pile of concrete. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
The collapse of a building housing garment factories near Bangladesh’s capital is renewing attention on the unsafe conditions in the country’s $20 billion clothing industry that supplies retailers around the world. Here’s a look at the factories in the Rana Plaza building and the global retailers they say they were working for.
— Ether Tex was located on the fifth floor. Its website, now offline, says its 530 workers made up to 960,000 pieces of clothing a year. It claimed to have a passing grade for safety and other business standards from SOCAM, a group that audits garment factories on behalf of European fashion company C&A. The company said its customers included retail giant Wal-Mart.
— New Wave is a group of three companies that says it makes shirts, pants and other garments for U.S., Canadian and European retailers. New Wave Bottoms was on the 2nd floor, and New Wave Style occupied the sixth and seventh floors. The New Wave website lists 27 retailers as its main customers. The list includes Spain’s Mango, Dress Barn of the U.S., Canada’s The Children’s Place, and the Asian arm of Benetton based in Hong Kong.
— Phantom Apparels operated a factory called Phantom-TAC in conjunction with Spain’s Textile Audit Company on the fourth floor. The Phantom-TAC website says it is “committed to reaching a high standard of working conditions.” It claimed to have a comprehensive auditing system that allowed it to “monitor and analyze daily the conditions in our factory.” The 20,000-square-foot factory could make up to 3 million garments a year. It does not list its customers.
— None of the factory owners have been contactable despite repeated attempts to reach them.
— Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, said it had no authorized production at the factories. If the company finds there was unauthorized production as a result of subcontracting it said it would take action based on its zero tolerance policy for that.
— Primark, a British retailer with more than 250 stores across Europe, says it was being supplied by a garment producer on the second floor.
— The Children’s Place used one of the garment factories in the building but said it wasn’t being supplied by it at the time of the collapse.
— Dress Barn said it hadn’t used garment factories at the building since 2010.
— Benetton said none of the factories were its suppliers.
— Mango said it hadn’t bought clothing from Rana Plaza factories but said it had been in talks with one factory to produce a test batch of clothing.
AT THE DISASTER
— An Associated Press reporter found clothed labeled with the following brands in the rubble: Saddlebred, Easycare Oxford, Next, Tweeti.com, LcWaikiki.
— Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, which has an office in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, says his staff is investigating. “You can’t trust many buildings in Bangladesh,” Kernaghan said. “It’s so corrupt that you can buy off anybody and there won’t be any retribution.”