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April 19, 2013
Walmart funds safety academy in fallout from fatal fire

Walmart has donated $1.6 million to establish the Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Academy in Bangladesh. In November 2012, a fire in a Bangladeshi factory that made clothes for Walmart and other Western brands claimed 112 lives. Walmart said it had decided to stop working with the factory, but reportedly a vendor used the location without Walmart's authorization.

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In a press release, Walmart said the institute will deliver “high quality, affordable, and comprehensive training on fire safety and environment, health, and workplace safety.” The Academy will focus on issues related to the ready-made garment sector, with particular emphasis on fire safety, water management, and gender equity in the workplace. Walmart will provide technical support and advice to the Institute of Sustainable Communities (ISC), the U.S.-based nongovernmental organization that is establishing the Academy.

In January, Walmart announced a zero tolerance policy for unauthorized subcontracting and strengthened fire safety standards in Bangladesh. The retailer says it will also conduct electrical, building, and fire safety assessments of factories in Bangladesh.

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