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Group appoints US chair to monitor Bangladesh worker safety
Publication Date : 21-08-2013
The North American Alliance, a platform of US-based clothing retailers for Bangladesh worker safety, has appointed former undersecretary of state Ellen O’Kane Tauscher as the independent chair of its board of directors.
The coalition of North American apparel companies and retailers, industry associations and non-government organisations was established last month to improve worker safety at Bangladeshi garment factories.
As the chair, Tauscher will serve a three-year term in the board, according to a statement.
“The respect Ellen has earned in Congress, the State Department, and the private sector will serve her well in the role as an independent leader and convener,” said James F Moriarty, an Alliance board member and former US ambassador to Bangladesh.
She will work with the Alliance members and governments to pursue the critical safety mission and aggressive implementation schedule, Moriarty said in the statement.
Tauscher said, “I am excited to be part of this unique public/private partnership between companies and stakeholders who want to materially change the safety and work conditions of tens of thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers.”
She also added, “This is an enormous challenge, but one well worth the time, effort and investment, as it will not only provide real change for the Bangladeshi workers, but this Alliance endeavour could serve as a global model for collaboration.”
Tauscher also had a noteworthy career in the financial sector, serving as one of the first and youngest women to become a member of the New York Stock Exchange during a 14-year Wall Street career that began at Bache & Co in 1974.
Apart from Moriarty, three other members of the independent board are Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association; Randy Tucker, global leader of the fire protection and safety team of a Houston-based engineering firm, and Muhammad A (Rumee) Ali, managing director of BRAC Enterprises and Investments.
The four board members from Alliance companies are: Daniel Duty, vice president of global affairs for Target; Jay Jorgensen, senior vice president and global chief compliance officer for Wal-Mart Stores Inc; Tom Nelson, vice president for global product procurement for VF Brands, and Bobbi Silten, senior vice president of global responsibility for Gap Inc and president of Gap Foundation.
Alliance, which brought the initial membership to 20 apparel companies and retailers and brands, including Costco Wholesale Corporation, Intradeco Apparel, and Jordache Enterprises Inc, will inspect garment factories in Bangladesh to ensure worker safety.
With these additional members, more than US$45 million has been committed to administer the programmes developed by the Alliance over the next five years.