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DBL Group promises better lives for Bangladesh’s garment workers

With a pledge to provide 24,450 of its employees access to affordably priced basic household food and health items through its Bandhan Fair Price shops, Garment manufacturer DBL Group has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA). Launched in 2008, the BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than $8 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organisations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Accessibility to affordable basic necessities has been a major concern in Kashimpur and Gazipur, Bangladesh, where nearly 7,000 DBL Group employees live and work. Established in 1991, the DBL Group supplies quality garments to global retailers such as H&M and Puma. The remote locations of DBL’s new factories and lack of shops in these areas has made it difficult for workers to access items their families need at affordable prices.

The financial crisis of 2008 further increased the prices of basic goods making them out of reach for many of the company’s workers. Women’s lack of access to affordable feminine hygiene products resulted in high absenteeism and decreased their job satisfaction and productivity.DBL responded by launching its first Bandhan Fair Price shop offering basic necessities at subsidised prices to its employees. With the success of first Bandhan shop, five DBL manufacturing complexes established their own Fair Price shops that benefitted nearly 24,450 employees and their families. These shops’ 370 items from recognized international and local brands include food, cooking oil, toiletries, home supplies and beverages. They also include sanitary napkins, which are sold at over 70 percent less than the average market price.