NEW YORK: Leading US brands, including Walmart and Gap, are in talks about improving fire and safety regulations in Bangladesh factories, as a poll reveals that most Americans never check where their clothes are made.
The discussions form part of the Safer Factories Initiative, set up in the wake of the disaster that killed more than 1,000 people in a Dhaka clothing factory in April 2013.
This initiative is, however, separate from the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which legally requires companies to help underwrite safety improvements and to which many European companies have already signed up.
A Gap spokeswoman told Bloomberg: "This builds upon the work that we've already been doing and will really help to be a path forward with other American retailers."
Separately, a new Harris Interactive poll showed that over half of Americans (56%) do not look to see where clothing items are manufactured before making purchases, while 44% do.
Some 69% of those polled had heard about the factory collapse, with 92% of those aware it had killed clothing workers. Among these consumers, over half (52%) said that the deaths would not affect their purchase decisions one way or the other.
But 39% indicated they would be less likely to buy clothes made in Bangladesh, while 9% said they would be more likely to do so.
Harris noted that just 5% of those over 55 years old would buy more but 18% of 18-34 year olds would and posited that this was indicative of a new type of activism.
Younger Americans may feel that if no one is buying the clothes, the report suggested, those who survived may find themselves out of work and in worse shape than just having poor working conditions.
Data sourced from Bloomberg; Harris Interactive; additional content by Warc staff