BESTSELLER have sourced products from Bangladesh for many years, and it continues to be a country where we expect to do business for years to come.
Like each sourcing country, Bangladesh provides unique opportunities and as for all other countries, there are also natural risks that has to be addressed. In BESTSELLER this is managed by a Global Sourcing department. With direction from the Denmark-based managerial team, BESTSELLER Global Sourcing’s 200-plus colleagues oversee BESTSELLER’s almost 400 suppliers.
BESTSELLER employs a risk-based approach to human rights due diligence in each country we work in. This means we maintain a continuous, proactive, and reactive process for identifying, monitoring, and mitigating human and labour rights risks, along with remediating actual adverse impacts.
All suppliers and their contracted factories adhere to BESTSELLER's supply chain policies and Factory Standards Programme, which serves as the primary tool for monitoring production site conditions. Each factory is subject to our Social & Labour Requirements and Environmental Requirements, which our local team assesses in person through on-site inspections. We openly share the results of our assessments with factories in order to identify areas for improvement, and work with each factory to improve their performance in our Supplier Sustainability Evaluation.
Where a factory’s assessment reports show room for improvement, BESTSELLER employs clearly defined escalation and remediation protocols, universally applicable across all markets in its supply chain.
The team in Bangladesh
BESTSELLER has a large team in our office in Dhaka. That includes a 6-person Social & Labour team and a 4-person Chemical & Environment team, who are responsible for due diligence on human rights and environmental impacts.
While BESTSELLER visits all factories at least once every 18 months, most factories are visited far more frequently. Being a risk-based due diligence process, our teams visit factories based on the level of risks at the facility. For example, a wet-processing facility that has an inexperienced management team would be visited more regularly than a CTP factory that has a well-qualified human resources department and extensive certifications.
As part of our due diligence, the BESTSELLER team in Dhaka offers suppliers training on how to address salient human rights risks in the region’s garment industry. Suppliers can also receive training on specialised subjects such as effluent treatment plant (ETP) management systems. All suppliers are invited to attend these seminars, which are provided free of charge.
BESTSELLER has a robust set of requirements on factories use of water. Meet members of the team and our partners in managing the environmental impacts of our supply chain in Bangladesh.
Learn more about BESTSELLER's approach to safe and secure chemical management at our suppliers’ factories
Key suppliers in Bangladesh have made remarkable progress in reducing water and energy usage through our FWD>>ENV programme
BESTSELLER factories can dramatically reduce their GHG emissions by taking advantage of our solar initiative, which provides cheap and green power to our supply chain partners
Bangladesh recently increased the minimum wage levels for workers in the garment manufacturing industry.
BESTSELLER supported the pursuit of higher minimum wage, which would cover the basic needs of workers, their families and some discretionary income.
BESTSELLER worked closely with suppliers to prepare for the new wage levels, asking suppliers to notify BESTSELLER if they were concerned about their ability to pay workers the new wage levels. One factory has requested additional support from BESTSELLER to address payroll concerns and is working closely with BESTSELLER's local Social & Labour team to verify that workers receive their due compensation.
Reducing human rights risks
To address the specific and often nuanced nature of the wide range of human and labour rights risk violations salient in Bangladesh' garment industry, BESTSELLER has a range of processes and programmes specifically to address these risks.
BESTSELLER is supporting the Bangladesh Employee Insurance Scheme pilot.
The first-of-its-kind scheme developed by the International Labour Organisation and German development agency GIZ, provides compensation in-kind benefits for medical treatment and rehabilitation services, and in-cash benefits for income loss in the event of a workplace accident – providing a social safety net to workers in the country’s garment industry.
We have committed almost €1 million in voluntary contributions to this initiative over the next 5 years.
BESTSELLER signed the Accord in 2013, and since then we have invested over 10 million euros in the initiative, which has seen a dramatic improvement in fire and building safety across the country.
As per the agreement, all Tier 1 factories in Bangladesh are covered by the Accord programme. This means all factories are subject to regular inspections from engineers. Inspectors produce reports and Corrective Actions Plans (CAPs) for remediation, BESTSELLER monitors factory progress on remediation, and informs the Accord Secretariat when they have been completed. Suppliers that do not agree to Accord monitoring and training are not onboarded into our supply chain. The status and progress of all factories enrolled in the Accord programme, which is implemented by the RSC, is publicly available on the RSC's website.
As of February 2024, of the factories BESTSELLER is working with in Bangladesh, 57 have received Accord/RSC recognition letter attesting to completion of 100% remediation, 23 are awaiting Accord/RSC verification of 100% remediation, and 22 factories are currently at 91-99% remediation rate.
100 factories have completed RSC training on the full 8 modules on workplace safety.
BESTSELLER has partnered with HERproject, now RISE, since 2010 to provide female workers across our supply chain with workplace-based training on health, financial inclusion, and gender equality. In Bangladesh, as of January 2024, 63 factories have been enrolled in a gender-focused programme, reaching 120,349 factory employees.
BESTSELLER has also partnered with Phulki, an NGO that specializes in setting up childcare facilities at workplaces, to pilot childcare facilities at two suppliers. Phulki’s role is to conduct a needs assessment and make recommendations to the factories on their childcare facilities and also support caretaker training and provide operational supervision support to ensure the quality of childcare facilities is sustained at factories.