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Canadian retail council to update trade guidelines after Bangladesh disaster

Workers and fire fighters are shrouded in smoke as they prepare to dislodge the debris and fallen ceiling of the garment factory building which collapsed in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh on Monday, April 29, 2013.

Wong Maye-E/AP

The Retail Council of Canada will develop an updated set of "responsible trade" guidelines in the aftermath of the tragedy in Bangladesh that left almost 390 people dead – mostly in garment factories housed in a building that collapsed last week.

The council's statement on Tuesday evening came a day after Toronto-based Loblaw Cos. Ltd. said it would compensate people tied to victims of the disaster. Also on Monday, major retailers such as Loblaw, Wal-Mart Canada Corp. and Canadian Tire Corp., met with the retail council to discuss how to prevent future tragedies in Bangladesh.

"RCC is committed to working with its members and the international community to drive change in Bangladesh to help prevent similar incidents in the future," the council said in its statement.

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It said it will develop updated "responsible trade" guidelines, best practices, educational material and resources for the industry.

It has joined a North American coalition of retail industry groups and, along with global groups such as the International Labour Organization, NGOs and the Bangladeshi government, will look for "common ground so that industry can align, in a meaningful way, with a plan to address safety standards in the Bangladesh garment industry."

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About the Author
Retailing Reporter

Marina Strauss covers retailing for The Globe and Mail's Report on Business. She follows a wide range of topics in the sector, from the fallout of foreign retailers invading Canada to how a merchant such as the Swedish Ikea gets its mojo. She has probed the rise and fall (and revival efforts) of Loblaw Cos., Hudson's Bay and others. More

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