Benetton delays paying into Rana Plaza fund
The Clean Clothes Campaign marks Milan Fashion Week, which opened on Tuesday, with actions across Europe calling on Benetton to stop delaying payments to the Rana Plaza victims by immediately contributing at least $5 million into the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund.
Benetton has been the target of sustained campaigning since the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund was launched in early 2014. At the end of last week Benetton finally announced that it was committing to paying into the Fund, but according to a short statement issued by the company on Friday it is delaying making a decision on an amount, instead contracting an 'independent' third party to advise on a sum which may not be announced until the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse on the 24th April.
The collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka on 24 April 2013 cost the lives of 1,138 people and injured nearly 2,600 more, making it the deadliest garment-factory disaster ever.
Since the opening of the Fund in January 2014 campaigners have argued that donations should reflect a company’s ability to pay, the size of their relationship with Bangladesh and the extent of their relationship with Rana Plaza. On this basis the CCC have consistently demanded that Benetton pay at least $5 million into the Fund.
“There is no justification for delaying this process further,” says Ilona Kelly of the Clean Clothes Campaign. “The Fund has been open for a year and Benetton is well aware that it is expected to pay $5 million at a minimum. The company has had plenty of time to consider its donation – its time for them to stop delaying and to pay what it owes.”
Campaigners also warn that Benetton has a track record of reneging on its responsibilities, which included first joining and then leaving the Rana Plaza Arrangement which is overseeing the Trust Fund and question the delaying tactics now being used.