As the coronavirus spread across the world in early 2020 and a lockdown in Bangladesh became inevitable, businesses were forced to respond quickly to the evolving situation. This report is drawn from in-depth interviews conducted between October 2020 and February 2021 with senior executives from international brands, Bangladeshi suppliers, representatives of the international civil society, and Bangladeshi labor activists. It seeks to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry and the workers, and it proposes changes to policies and practices that can lead to long-term changes that would benefit global retailers, suppliers, and ultimately workers themselves. As Bangladesh’s second lockdown is underway, the findings offer a cautionary tale on how brands and supply chains should respond.
Sadaf Saaz Siddiqi
Moderator: Dorothee Baumann-Pauly