Issue 399 | December 16, 2016
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The WRAP Blog
by: Russell Jowell

Welcome to The WRAP Weekly newsletter.  Feel free to look around and thank you for being a loyal reader.

The WRAP Up
Last week we certified 61 factories in 15 countries:
Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, USA, and Vietnam.

As of the sending of this newsletter, there are 2,292 factories with current WRAP certificates around the world employing 2,078,362 workers.

WRAP's U.S. office will be closed December 26-January 2 in observance of the Christmas holiday. We will reopen on January 3.

Missed our AAFA webinar on working hours? Watch the video here.
This Week's Headlines
Upcoming Events

January 24-27, 2017
Orlando, Florida, USA


Bangladesh
bangladeshAt least 50 workers at a Gazipur factory were injured on December 12 in a panicked escape from a building fire. Authorities say the workers became startled after smoke began filling the factory floor, though the fire was extinguished before the fire brigade arrived. Investigators say an electrical issue sparked the blaze. ( BD News 24)

A top adviser to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says that the country should focus on developing new export markets for its apparel to reduce dependence on Western Europe and the United States. The adviser noted that locales like Eastern Europe, Africa, and Turkey offer significant potential for growth and expansion for the country's garment industry. ( Fibre2Fashion)

A group of Bangladeshi partner nations have signed a memorandum of intent to continue with the next phase of the "Improving Working Conditions in the Bangladesh Readymade Garment Sector programme." Initially launched in 2013, the effort facilitated the inspection of over 1,500 readymade garment factories in the country for structural, fire, and electrical safety. The first phase of the program is set to end in June 2017. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The European Union is working to launch a new skills development program in Bangladesh aimed at elevating the perception of the country's workers. Commencing in January 2017, the "Skills 21" program will focus on helping Bangladesh develop its own roadmap toward an "effective and efficient" vocational training model. The International Labor Organization (ILO) is also assisting with the effort. ( BDNews24)

The government of Bangladesh has launched a new initiative aimed at improving workplace relations in the country's readymade garment sector. The initiative, coined "Promoting Social Dialogue and Harmonious Industrial Relations," is aimed at both resolving and preventing disputes in the workplace while also increasing productivity. The effort is supported by the governments of Sweden and Denmark. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA) says it has launched a new testing laboratory aimed at improving the quality of garment accessories manufactured in the country. Industry leaders say the new center should help in providing greater confidence to new and existing customers who source accessories from the country. The project was co-funded by the European Union. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Cambodia
The Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) says it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with testing and inspection firm TÜV SÜD to collaborate on workshops and awareness programs focused on international quality and safety standards. The agreement will help GMAC corporate members to better keep up with industry demands regarding safety and quality standards. Members will also be able to use  TÜV SÜD's services at a discounted rate. (Fibre2Fashion)

China
chinaChina has released a new plan to "digitize" its manufacturing by 2020 in an effort to remain competitive on the world stage. The effort is part of the "Made in China 2025" initiative and will focus on innovation across 10 sectors including robotics, aerospace, and medicine. ( Sourcing Journal  *NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

France
franceFrance is one step closer to adopting a law that would require companies to take greater responsibility for the social and environmental compliance in their supply chains. This comes after the National Assembly approved draft legislation late last month requiring French companies employing more than 5,000 people to implement a "vigilance or due diligence" plan to identify any risks to human rights or the environment as a result of their activities. The proposal must now pass the Senate in order to become law. ( Just Style*NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription

A French company that tracks the environmental and social compliance of thousands of suppliers around the world has secured US$30 million in new venture funding. EcoVadis uses its technology to provide compliance data on suppliers from dozens of industries to potential buyers. The company says that it already has over 150 clients and information on over 30,000 suppliers. ( The Wall Street Journal)

India
Starting on January 1, textile units across India will be required to register online and submit their production data to the Textile Ministry to help them formulate new policies for the sector. A senior official says that the data will be used to identify industry trends and make future predictions. Handloom, khadi, and jute facilities are exempt from this requirement. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Indian workers are expected to have one of the highest national wage increases next year, according to a new report published by global consulting firm Mercer. The report says that India could experience a 10.8% increase in wages next year, among the highest of the world's major sourcing destinations. The report is based on surveys from over 400 companies in 83 markets. ( Sourcing Journal) *NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

indiaIndia's textile industry is reportedly supporting a wider national move to transform India into a cashless economy. In a recent interview, the secretary of the Indian Texpreneurs Federation noted that many workers are putting in the effort to understand and navigate the banking system and that lots of workers already have their own bank accounts that they use to collect their wages. In addition to a push to get more workers to sign up for bank accounts, industry leaders are also working to expand the availability of ATMs. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Exports of carpet and textile-based floor coverings from India have been on the rise since 2013, according to the country's Textile Ministry. Plans to continue this growth are also underway, including the establishment of "mega clusters" in Bhadohi-Mirzapur and Srinagar as well as building the Indian Institute of Carpet Technology. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Niger
Government officials in Niger are pushing Asian nations like Indonesia to invest in textile manufacturing within their country. Leaders in the West African nation told diplomats from Indonesia that the country's cotton industry could provide a strong foundation for textile manufacturers to grow on. They also touted the favorable business environment of the country. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Pakistan
Textile groups based in Punjab have banded together to form the Punjab Textile Forum aimed at boosting business and restoring competitiveness to the region. The new body is urging the government of Pakistan to introduce a textile industry revival package and help overcome "structural imbalances" in the industry. Several national groups, including the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association and the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, are members of the forum. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Sweden
Swedish fashion company H&M says it is participating in a pilot sustainability study aimed at trying to find a solution to the problem of ocean waste created by micro plastics from polyester fabrics. Run by research group Mistra Future Fashion, the project will examine the relationship between polyester fabrics and fibre shedding. The group says that micro plastics pose a considerable threat to the marine environment. ( Just Style)
*NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription

Switzerland
Textile standard setting body Oeko-Tex says it is preparing to launch a new leather standard allowing producers and suppliers to have their products tested for harmful substances. Unveiled at the company's annual meeting last month, the new standard will be rolled out next year. The group says that the new standard should help them ensure consumer protection and environmental compliance. ( Just Style*NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription

United States
U.S. apparel company PVH has joined over 9,000 other corporate members in signing the United Nations Global Compact. In a statement the company's CEO noted that they see the compact as an opportunity to "drive progress in the areas that matter most" to the apparel business, including conservation and women's' rights. The company says it has also signed on to the CEO Water Mandate and the Women's Environment Principles. ( Business Wire

wranglerWrangler denim company says it has conserved over 30 billion liters of water since launching a conservation initiative nearly 10 years ago. The company says that even though water plays a crucial role in the production of denim, they have achieved significant savings by consolidating production processes and focusing on efficiency. The company hopes to achieve 5.5 billion liters in water savings by 2020. ( Fibre2Fashion)

A new report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) says that imports at major U.S. container ports are projected to increase by 3.2% year-on-year this month, the second straight month of increases. The NRF notes, however, that cargo volume does not directly correlate to sales because the data is measured simply in volume and not in value. ( Fibre2Fashion)
About WRAP
Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, USA, with regional offices in Hong Kong, SAR, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, full-time staff in India and Southeast Asia (Thailand and Vietnam), and for Latin America, WRAP is an independent, objective, non-profit team of global social compliance experts dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing around the world through certification and education. To learn more about WRAP, please visit  www.wrapcompliance.org .

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