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Retailers urged to help eliminate unsafe working conditions overseas

Retailers are being asked by the government to collate good practice examples of ways to eliminate abuses in the supply chain, the Financial Times (FT) reports.

Business minister Jenny Willott will write to the British Retail Consortium today (June 25), asking retailers to do more to help eliminate forced labour and dangerous working conditions among overseas suppliers in the wake of incidents such as the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh last year.

She will urge UK-based companies to produce examples of existing human rights reporting measures, which other retailers could learn from, as well as information on ethical auditing and accreditation schemes available.

Willott told the FT she was particularly keen for retailers leading the way in ethical trading, such as Marks & Spencer, to share their experiences through case studies.

M&S yesterday officially launched its Plan A 2020 ethical trading report, which includes a pledge to improve the transparency and traceability of its supply chain over the next six years.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “Over the coming months, we will be working with our members to signpost industry standards and initiatives and draw together examples of good practice.”

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