Benetton Group Ups Rana Plaza Fund Contribution

The Italian company and WRAP, an NGO focused on social compliance through global supply chains, say the fund to aid victims of the 2013 building collapse in Bangladesh may exceed the $30 million goal.

Benetton Group announced April 17 that it has contributed $1,100,000 to the Rana Plaza Trust Fund, doubling the sum recommended in an independent assessment of its contribution by PwC and endorsed by WRAP, an NGO focused on social compliance through global supply chains. The Italian fashion company’s payment follows a previous payment of $500,000 made through BRAC, before the Rana Plaza Trust Fund was established to aid victims of the collapse of the Rana Plaza, an eight-story commercial building in Bangladesh. The collapse on April 24, 1013, killed 1,129 workers.

The company also pledged to improve working conditions and living standards for workers in the international garment industry via several "people first" sustainability initiatives rolling out across its global supply chain and also to progressively apply the principles of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh to its producers in other global markets.

"We welcome the PwC report and WRAP's contribution. We have decided to go further to demonstrate very clearly how deeply we care," said Marco Airoldi, CEO of Benetton Group. "Whilst there is no real redress for the tragic loss of life we hope that this robust and clear mechanism for calculating compensation could be used more widely. For this reason, we decided to make the PwC report publicly available to all stakeholders."

"Benetton has a proud history of social commitment. We believe that by working closely with the right suppliers we can help to improve factory conditions for workers in Bangladesh and in many other parts of the world," he added.

Benetton was among 29 brands connected to companies operating in the Rana Plaza building. The company's announcement said PwC based its report on an assessment from the International Labour Organization that $30 million in compensation should be paid into the Rana Plaza Trust Fund. PwC calculated Benetton Group's contribution to be $550,000 based on the level of its commercial association with the Rana Plaza.

"With a tragedy of this scale, no financial compensation can ever really be enough, but we welcome Benetton’s decision to pay more than its calculated share of the fund based on the report published by PwC," said Avedis Seferian, President and CEO of WRAP. "If everyone took the same approach as Benetton, the overall fund could more than exceed its stated goals."

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