Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is under increasing pressure from investors and labor-rights groups to name its garment suppliers after a fire in Bangladesh killed more than 100 people at a factory that made its clothes.
Proponents say public disclosure of supply chains — a move made by Nike Inc. and other retailers in recent years — encourages accountability that leads to factory improvements in countries where unsafe conditions are widespread.
After the blaze at the Tazreen Design Ltd. factory Nov. 24, labor-rights organizations have called on Wal-Mart and other companies to take more direct responsibility for the suppliers and factories that make their garments. Wal-Mart maintains low costs in part by “turning a blind eye” to the conditions and safety of workers around the globe, according to John Liu, the New York City comptroller.
Liu is a trustee and investment adviser to the New York City Public Pension Funds, which holds about 4.9 million Wal-Mart shares, an investment of about $337 million.
“As a corporate policy, we don’t discuss our supplier relationships,” Kevin Gardner, a spokesman for Bentonville-based Wal-Mart, said in an e-mail.
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has more than 100,000 suppliers, according to its website.