Ten years later: Lessons learned by the garment industry from the Rana Plaza disaster

Ten years later: Lessons learned by the garment industry from the Rana Plaza disaster with Nika Salvetti

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Listen to this episode: Duration: 50 min.

Quick Overview

In this episode, Nika Salvetti reflects on the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh and its impact on the garment industry. When the Rana Plaza building collapsed in 2013, killing more than 1,000 people and injuring another 2,500, it served as the tipping point for reforms in the garment industry. The tragedy spawned not only safety reforms but environmental ones as well, as the clothing industry is one of the most polluting. Today, garment factories in Bangladesh are subject to regular safety inspections, and companies are required to treat their wastewater so that chemicals do not pollute the soil and water. Salvetti also discusses the factors that motivate businesses to move towards socially and environmentally responsible practices. Finally, she recommends steps that consumers can take to encourage businesses to be more socially and environmentally responsible.

Questions and Topics Addressed in this Episode

  1. What happened at Rana Plaza? Who are the main actors and stakeholders in the clothing industry?
  2. What are the lessons learned from the Rana Plaza tragedy?
  3. What are the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the garment industry?
  4. How can or how has the garment industry implemented Principle 7 of the Earth Charter: “Adopt patterns of production, consumption, and reproduction that safeguard Earth’s regenerative capacities, human rights, and community well-being,” and also Principle 7d. “internalize the full environmental and social costs of goods and services in the selling price, and enable consumers to identify products that meet the highest social and environmental standards”?
  5. What motivates business owners to pursue socially and environmentally responsible practices?
  6. The Earth Charter states that “we must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more.” How can consumers and businesses move away from the culture of having more to a culture of being more?
  7. How can consumers influence businesses to act more responsibly?

Nika Salvetti

Ten years later: Lessons learned by the garment industry from the Rana Plaza disaster

Who is Nika Salvetti?

Nika Salvetti is a researcher and practitioner with experience in the fields of management, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), economics and sustainable development. She has taught at multiple universities and is currently an adjunct professor at Heriot-Watt University. Over 10 years ago, she was the leading force in envisioning and designing the University for Peace MA programme on Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development (RMSED) to which she was the Academic Programme Coordinator and continues to be a visiting professor. Nika Salvetti did her Phd research on “Local Culture and regulations determine responsible approach to ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh.” She has also written articles on this such as “How can brands help Bangladeshi garment workers?” and “How brands can ensure a more responsible garment industry in Bangladesh post Covid-19”

This podcast is developed by Earth Charter International as part of our work as UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter.