Report: Early Impacts of Coronavirus on Bangladesh Apparel Supply Chains

What happens when coronoavirus shuts stores and retailers cancel billions of dollars in clothing orders? The Regulation of International Supply Chains (RISC) team invites you to read their newly-published report on the early effects of coronavirus in the Bangladesh apparel industry and its 4+ million workers.

Seven years ago, more than 1,100 garment workers in Bangladesh were killed when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed on top of them. Today, the Bangladesh apparel industry and its millions of workers face a new, potentially even more devastating crisis: coronavirus. Health issues aside, the impacts of the global pandemic on the industry and its workers are potentially catastrophic for the industry and wider society alike in a country where, for many workers, unemployment threatens starvation. Yet, as factories re-open – including for the production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – many factories are failing to ensure even the most basic protections for workers. Workers are faced with an impossible choice between the risks of starvation and COVID-19.

What are the major issues and ethical dilemmas of managing some of the hardest-hit supply chains in the corona crisis? The report – aimed at practitioners and policy-makers but also relevant to researchers – seeks to aggregate key information from a variety of sources both local and international, as well as look behind the numbers to reflect on the broader issues and challenges at play.

The report is the first in a series from the RISC team that will delve deeper into the implications of coronavirus in Bangladesh’s RMG sector.