Issue 410 | March 10, 2017
Upcoming Training

March 13-17
Shanghai, China

March 21-22
Bangalore, India

March 23
Dhaka, Bangladesh

The WRAP Blog

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

Last week we certified 33 factories in 8 countries:
Bangladesh, China, Haiti, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

As of the sending of this newsletter, there are 2,312 factories with current WRAP certificates around the world employing 2,110,658 workers.  
This Week's Headlines
bgmeaThe Supreme Court of Bangladesh has dismissed a petition to review a 2016 appellate court ruling upholding a 2010 decision saying that the headquarters building of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) is illegally built and must be torn down. Court documents say that the 15-story building blocks the connection between two major bodies of water in Dhaka and was constructed without some necessary government approvals. The court is asking the BGMEA to bear the cost of the demolition and is asking for the group to submit a plan to carry it out. ( Dhaka Tribune)

Twenty disabled female women recently traveled to Phnom Penh from the Kampong Speu province to urge the government to investigate their allegation that they were fired from a garment factory last month without cause. A spokesperson for the workers say that they were forced by the factory to accept a severance package last month after factory managers said financial pressures were forcing them to make cuts. A representative for the factory denied that the dismissals were discriminatory but refused to provide an alternate reason. ( Phnom Penh Post)

chinaA textile factory in China has set up the country's first wastewater treatment plant that uses radiation to clean dirty water. The facility is part of a pilot project facilitated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) testing better methods for water treatment. IAEA representatives say that radiation is the only method that can treat some of the most stubborn pollutants in wastewater. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has released its version 5.0. Notable changes to the new edition include stricter criteria for regenerated fibers as well as the addition of a new category called "Combined Products." A GOTS representative says that the new revised standard will help the group contribute to sustainable development.
( Sourcing Journal) *NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

The government of India is reviewing the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) after a recent report commissioned by the Ministry of Textiles claimed that the scheme has failed to achieve its objectives. The report, published by Wazir Advisors, cites a number of reasons for SITP's poor performance, including high rents in textile parks, insufficient marketing, and poor accessibility. The report suggests consideration of a new scheme that would center on larger parks. ( Fibre2Fashion)

fastretailingJapan-based Fast Retailing, parent company of UNIQLO, has made two major sustainability and transparency announcements. The company has released the names of 146 of its core suppliers and also says that it plans to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals in its supply chain by 2020. In its latest sustainability report, the company says that textile and garment manufacturing make some of the biggest environmental impacts and that it is crucial for companies like Fast Retailing to take proactive steps to minimize these effects. ( Fibre2Fashion / Sourcing Journal)
*NOTICE: Sourcing Journal article requires a free subscription

Work has resumed at a Myanmar factory after it sustained US$75,000 in damages from a violent strike last month. The strike reportedly ensued following news that a union leader had been fired from the facility. The strike ended on February 25 after local officials in Myanmar ordered that the union leader be reinstated. ( Frontier Myanmar)

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the country needs to focus on diversifying its exports away from just textiles and garments if it wants to remain globally competitive. He noted that the country is facing increasing competition from nearby states like Bangladesh where wages are significantly lower than in Sri Lanka. Wickremesinghe says that electronics and robotics could present new export opportunities. ( Fibre2Fashion)

handmSwedish fashion company H&M says it is encouraging its global suppliers to begin paying their workers digitally in order to improve transparency and worker well-being. The announcement comes after the company joined the "Better Than Cash" initiative of the United Nations which advocates for digital and mobile banking. Company executives say that digital payments will not only increase security and transparency, but will also increase financial inclusion among workers in developing nations. ( Fibre2Fashion)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is calling on countries around the world to increase cooperation in order to build policies that better respond to economic challenges and to leverage trade around the world to boost vulnerable economies. Speaking after his second term confirmation, Director General Roberto Azevedo said that progress through trade is possible when trade is "open, inclusive, and pragmatic." ( Just Style)
*NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription

The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) says that it has opened up its Responsible Sport Initiative (RSI) audit sharing initiative to companies outside of the sporting goods industry. First launched last year by bicycle companies in the WFSGI, the RSI enables sharing of audits conducted by third-party providers approved by the RSI. ( Think Sport)  

United Kingdom
ukThe British government is facing a US$2.12 billion fine from the European Union's anti-fraud office for allegedly allowing undervalued apparel and footwear to enter from China. Authorities allege that British customs agents allowed criminal gangs to present falsified documents that grossly undervalued clothing and shoes being imported from China, thereby resulting in decreased customs duties. They say that the U.K. was warned about the ongoing activity several times but took no action. British officials say they are reviewing the matter. ( Sourcing Journal)
*NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

British risk analysis company Verisk Maplecroft has released its latest "Human Rights Outlook" describing the top human rights risks to businesses in 2017. The company says that a tightening of U.S. immigration policies under President Donald Trump could grow the risk of slavery and labor abuses against undocumented workers in the country as they are forced "under the radar." The report also indicates a greater risk for slavery "blind spots" in areas like shipping, cleaning, and security. ( CNBC /  Verisk Maplecroft)

United States
A new report from Moody's Investors Service says that while operating profits for the U.S. apparel and footwear industry are poised to improve over the next 12-18 months, growth will be more sluggish that originally anticipated. The report notes that many companies are still feeling pressured by the strengthening value of the U.S. dollar coupled with a decline in retail traffic. The company also says that while many larger retailers may be able to offset this trend through growth abroad, those that focus just on the U.S. may continue to struggle long-term. ( Fibre2Fashion)

U.S. apparel imports posted month-on-month growth in January, according to new data from the Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA). The office says that the two largest suppliers of apparel to the United States, China and Vietnam, each posted double-digit year-on-year gains in shipment volume with 13.26% and 23.49% respectively. ( Just Style)
*NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is launching a new program in Uzbekistan aimed at helping cotton farmers improve their efficiency, safeguard the environment, and improve labor practices. The IFC says the effort is aimed at helping one of the country's most crucial industries become more sustainable and respected around the world. While Uzbek cotton is often praised for its quality, the country has been frequently accused of engaging in labor and environmental abuses during the harvest. ( 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 .

WRAP | |
2200 Wilson Blvd, Suite 601
Arlington, VA 22201