The UK Government announced the launch of a new programme on 14 August to help high street business like Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Primark, Morrisons and Sainbury’s strengthen their global supply chain.
International Development Secretary Ann-Marie Trevelyan is behind the new funding, which is dedicated to improving investment from UK businesses to ensure safe working places for vulnerable workers in developing nations.
The pandemic has put the livelihood of many workers at risk with many factories throughout the world shut down.
The UK Aid Fund will partner the aforementioned high street brands with expert organisations like the Fairtrade Foundation and Ethical Trading Initiative, among others to improve working conditions and healthcare facilities for workers in factories.
It will also help fund coronavirus preparedness in workplaces, help farmers diversify crops to meet demands and provide support to farms and factories so that the burden doesn’t ultimately fall on the workers.
The programme will include 4.85 million pounds UK aid and 2 million pounds from businesses and will focus primarily on Myanmar, Bangladesh, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
These countries are responsible for huge proportions of the world’s food, flowers and clothes exports with Ghana producing a quarter of the world’s cocoa and Bangladesh being the world’s second largest garment exporter.
M&S and CARE UK have partnered to work on improving health-related services for 80,000 factory workers in Bangladesh where the brand’s clothes are made.
The programme will strengthen community health care systems and deliver targeted health messaging in factories to help employees keep themselves and their families safe.
Fiona Sadler, head of Ethical Trading at M&S, said “We’re proud to be partnering again with DFID and CARE to strengthen healthcare systems and services in our factories in Bangladesh and the wider community.”