Journal 1 - Rana Plaza Garment Factory Collapse
In April 2013, an 8 storey garment factory, Rana Plaza, collapsed in Bangladesh and resulted in the worst accident in the garment production industry (Disaster at Rana Plaza; Corporate Social Responsibility, 2013). Since the disaster, building owners, associations and corporations have reflected, reacted and responded to the catastrophe.
Unfortunately, the Rana Plaza catastrophe could have been prevented if the owner took action upon witnessing several hazards seen from the deterioration of the building. One article states “local police and an industry association had warned that the building was unsafe”; the owner of the building ignored the advice and threatened to fire employees “who did not carry on working as usual” (Disaster at Rana Plaza; Corporate Social Responsibility, 2013). The Rana Plaza management has failed to exhibit economic and ethical responsibility of Carroll’s 4 part model of corporate social responsibility. Managers unsuccessfully satisfied or cared for their employees by forcing staff to work in a building which was at-risk of collapsing. Clearly, the factory management staff considered the production of goods as more important than workers in their establishment and failed to register the potential lethal risk of poor working conditions. If the owner listened to the warnings and took appropriate action to ethically do what is right, perhaps the Rana Plaza collapse would have resulted in less casualties.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) holds the owners of Rana Plaza, along with the five garment factories housed within, responsible for the collapse, however the BGMEA claims they do “not take any responsibly for the tragedy” (BGMEA holds Rana Plaza, 5 RMG owners responsible for disaster, shirks its responsibilty, 2013). BGMEA Vice President, SA Mannan Kochi states that BGMEA officials visited Rana Plaza on the 23rd of April and allowed the factory to continue operating due to promises that “nothing would happen” during a meeting with the building owner and several local law enforcers and authoritative officers (BGMEA holds Rana Plaza, 5 RMG owners responsible for disaster, shirks its responsibilty, 2013). The BGMEA demonstrates “reaction” of corporate social responsiveness. By acknowledging structural building issues to the building owner, the BGMEA believes they have done their part in prevention and deny any responsibility. Personally, my feelings are torn in the BGMEA’s response. Yes, they did address problems to the building owner, but they still allowed a building at risk of collapse to function on hearsay. If the BGMEA demonstrated “accomodation” of corporate social responsiveness, they may have been able to safely evacuate employees, force the owner of the establishment to bring the building up to safety codes and prevent the deaths of 2,000 people.
In the aftermath of the disaster, several brands have denied...