he collapse of the Rana Plaza Complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh was a tragic event which has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,100 people. If there is any silver lining to this horrific event, it is that more attention is being paid to factory safety conditions and workers rights in Bangladeshi factories and in the garment industry as a whole. Bangladesh is the second largest producer of apparel globally after China.
The origin of goods and a consumer demand for sustainable production processes has its origins in the food production industry. The trend has expanded into the garment industry in recent years. When garment producers first came under scrutiny, much of the focus was on workers rights. “Sweatshops” and child labor became lightning-rod issues. While these issues have not been fully eliminated, progress has been made—the “spotlight effect” can greatly change the actions of large MNCs. The new issue on consumer and producer agenda’s is factory safety conditions. How best to address this issue is open for debate.