The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety today announced the election of the Honorable Ellen O'Kane Tauscher as the independent Chair of its Board of Directors. The coalition of North American apparel companies and retailers, industry associations, and non-governmental organizations has been established to improve worker safety at Bangladeshi garment factories. As Chair, Tauscher will serve a three-year term.
Tauscher brings significant leadership experience as an international negotiator, diplomat and policymaker to the Alliance from her service as a seven-term member of Congress and at the U.S. Department of State. She was appointed by President Barack Obama as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, and served from 2009 to 2012, helping to negotiate the New START Treaty between the U.S. and the Russian Federation. She also served as Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense at the State Department, and while in Congress, served as co-chair of the congressional Iraqi Women's Caucus, which advocated for women's rights issues in Iraq.
“The respect Ellen has earned in Congress, the State Department, and the private sector will serve her well in the role as an independent leader and convener who can work with Alliance members and governments to pursue the critical safety mission and aggressive implementation schedule,” said Ambassador James F. Moriarty, an Alliance Board Member, and former U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh.
Tauscher said, “I am excited to be part of this unique public/private partnership between companies and stakeholders who want to materially change the safety and work conditions of tens of thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers.” She added, “This is an enormous challenge, but one well worth the time, effort and investment, as it will not only provide real change for the Bangladeshi workers, but this Alliance endeavor could serve as a global model for collaboration.”
After Tauscher returned to the private sector in September 2012, she joined Baker Donelson Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, in Washington, D.C., as strategic advisor to clients in national security, defense, transportation, export control and energy policy areas.
Alliance Welcomes Three New Members
Members of the Board of Directors of the Alliance include three other stakeholder representatives in addition to Ambassador Moriarty: Mohammad Atiqul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturing and Exporters Association (BGMEA); Randy Tucker, global leader of the fire protection and safety team at ccrd, a Houston-based engineering firm; and Muhammad Rumee Ali, managing director of enterprises at BRAC, the international NGO founded in Bangladesh. Four Board members from Alliance companies include: Daniel Duty, vice president of global affairs for Target; Jay Jorgensen, senior vice president and global chief compliance officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Tom Nelson, vice president for global product procurement for VF Brands; and Bobbi Silten, senior vice president of global responsibility for Gap Inc. and president of Gap Foundation.
About The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety
The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety was founded by a group of North American apparel companies and retailers and brands who have joined together to develop and launch the Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative, a binding, five-year undertaking that will be transparent, results-oriented, measurable and verifiable with the intent of improving safety in Bangladeshi ready-made garment (RMG) factories. Collectively, these Alliance members represent the overwhelming majority of North American imports of RMG from Bangladesh, produced at more than 500 factories.
The Alliance provides apparel companies and retailers the unprecedented opportunity to come together and put forward concrete solutions to issues that impact the global apparel and retail industries. The current group of 20 includes the following companies: Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited; Carter's Inc.; The Children's Place Retail Stores Inc.; Costco Wholesale Corporation; Gap Inc.; Hudson's Bay Company; IFG Corp.; Intradeco Apparel; J.C. Penney Company Inc.; The Jones Group Inc.; Jordache Enterprises, Inc.; Kohl's Department Stores; L. L. Bean Inc.; Macy's; Nordstrom Inc.; Public Clothing Company; Sears Holdings Corporation; Target Corporation; VF Corporation; and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Supporting associations include: American Apparel & Footwear Association, BRAC, Canadian Apparel Federation, National Retail Federation, Retail Council of Canada, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel. In addition, Li & Fung, a major Hong Kong-based sourcing company which does business with many members of the Alliance, will serve in an advisory capacity. More information about the Alliance can be found at www.bangladeshworkersafety.org.