Following a pair of deadly factory fires in Bangladesh and Pakistan late last year, Disney will halt production of its branded merchandise in those and other countries. According to CNN, Disney notified vendors and licensees in March to transition production out of “highest-risk countries” including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ecuador, Venezuela and Belarus by April next year. “After much thought and discussion we felt this was the most responsible way to manage the challenges associated with our supply chain,” said Bob Chapek, president of Disney Consumer Products, CNN reported. The company said its decision was based on a World Bank report that assesses how countries are governed. Metrics used in the report included accountability, corruption and violence; the five countries that Disney is leaving had the lowest scores. A fire at Tazreen Fashions Factory in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka left 112 people dead last November. At the time, Disney said its records showed that none of its authorized licensees had manufactured Disney-branded products at the Dhaka factory in the 12 months prior, although apparel labelled for Disney was found among the rubble, a Reuters report said. Reuters noted in December that Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract orders amid pressure to produce large volumes, but frequently without the knowledge of the end-buyers. Disney will continue to work with some countries that did not score well on the World Bank report, but only where factories partner with the International Labor Organization-sanctioned Better Work program.
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